California Woman Sentenced to 2 Years in Federal Prison After Making Bomb Threat to Myrtle Beach International Airport
Florence, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Michelle Bryant, age 47, of Mission Viejo, California, was sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to three counts of Intentionally Conveying False and Misleading Information. The information concerned several false claims of explosive devices placed at the Myrtle Beach International Airport (MBIA). Chief United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence sentenced Bryant to 24 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system.
Bryant was also ordered to pay the Horry County Airport Authority $12,822.40 in restitution to reimburse the MBIA for their purchase of a full-time bomb detection dog and a trained handler. Law enforcement acquired these assets to deal with this case and to protect future visitors to MBIA.
Evidence presented to the court established that from March through August 2017, Bryant placed five telephonic bomb threats to the MBIA. Investigators obtained records from an international telecommunications company and interviewed a multitude of individuals to narrow the field of potential suspects. In February 2018, the FBI identified Bryant as a potential suspect and interviewed her at her residence in California. Once confronted, she admitted to placing the series of telephone calls, each one falsely claiming a different attack was about to occur. She told investigators the motive for the hoaxes was revenge for a failed relationship with an individual who had ties to the airport.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the Horry County Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney and Chief Deputy Solicitor Scott Hixson of the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office prosecuted the case.