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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 9, 2021

Palm Beach Gardens Resident Charged with Threatening Members of Congress Appears in Federal Court

Miami, Florida – This week, 60-year-old Paul Vernon Hoeffer was arraigned in federal court in West Palm Beach on charges that he called and threatened to injure two members of Congress and a district attorney.

The indictment charges Hoeffer with three counts of interstate transmission of threats to injure.  According to allegations made by prosecutors during a court hearing, in March 2019, Hoeffer called a congresswoman in Washington, D.C., and threatened to come a “long, long, way” to rattle her head with bullets and cut her head off.  On the same day, Hoeffer called a district attorney in the State of Illinois, telling her bullets were going to “rattle her brain,” it is alleged.  In November 2020, Hoeffer called another congresswoman, this time in New York.  Hoeffer told her that he would “rip her head off” and cautioned her to sleep with one eye open, according to allegations made by prosecutors.  

If convicted, Hoeffer faces a total of up to 15 years in prison.  Hoeffer pled not guilty during the arraignment.  His trial is set to start during the two-week period beginning January 18, 2022.  Particular trial dates will be addressed during calendar call before U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon on January 11, 2022.   

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami, made the announcement.

FBI Miami investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Luisa Honora Berti is prosecuting it.  

An indictment is a charging instrument containing allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-14042.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Marlene Rodriguez Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Officer USAFLS.News@usdoj.gov
Updated December 9, 2021