Yonkers Man Arrested For Lying To Federal Authorities About Fake Threat Against The President
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced criminal charges today against JUAN MEDINA. MEDINA faces federal charges for lying to the United States Secret Service about his responsibility for making a fake emergency call about a plot to assassinate the President of the United States. MEDINA was arrested this morning at his home in Yonkers, and was presented this afternoon in White Plains federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy, who released him on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond secured by two co-signers.
According to a Complaint filed today in White Plains federal court:
On or about August 29, 2014, when the President of the United States was visiting Westchester County, 911 emergency operators received a phone call reporting that a former roommate of the caller (“the suspect”) was traveling to New York with AR-14 and AK-47 firearms to kill the President. The caller, who identified himself only as “Hassan,” gave law enforcement the suspect’s address in New Haven, Connecticut, and a description of the roommate’s vehicle.
Following the 911 call, dozens of federal, state, and local law enforcement were dispatched in New York and Connecticut in an attempt to locate the roommate and his vehicle. Secret Service agents arrived at the suspect’s New Haven residence and interviewed his neighbors. Based on the results of their investigation, agents guided their interagency search teams to a few neighboring towns. Hours later, officers from the Hamden Police Department identified the suspect’s vehicle in a parking lot. Secret Service agents then located and interviewed the suspect at a nearby residence. Searches of the suspect’s vehicle and the residence revealed no evidence supporting the allegations in the 911 call. The suspect, who was surprised that the Secret Service was looking for him, cooperated with law enforcement and told agents that he believed an individual named “Juan,” who was a friend of his girlfriend, was responsible for the 911 call.
On or about September 1, 2014, Secret Service agents traveled to the home of the suspect’s girlfriend in Yonkers, New York. JUAN MEDINA, the defendant, answered the door. After being informed by the Secret Service agents that they were federal agents, MEDINA acknowledged that he disliked the suspect but, in response to questioning by the Secret Service about the 911 call, MEDINA denied having made the call.
On or about September 3, 2014, JUAN MEDINA voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by the Secret Service and Yonkers police. During the interview, MEDINA again denied making the 911 call about the plot to kill the President, and he denied knowing who made the call. MEDINA provided a written statement summarizing his denial.
At the request of the Secret Service, MEDINA agreed to be interviewed again. During this interview, MEDINA admitted that he was the one who made the 911 call. MEDINA told the Secret Service that he had made the call using a pre-paid “burner” cellphone, which he later sold on the street. MEDINA said he made the call because he did not approve of the relationship between his former roommate (the suspect) and the girlfriend, and he wanted to get his former roommate in trouble.
MEDINA, 30, a resident of Yonkers, New York, is charged with one count of making false statements to federal authorities, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the United States Secret Service and their law enforcement partners, specifically the New York State Police, the Yonkers Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, the Hamden Police Department, the New Haven Police Department, the Fairfield Police Department, the East Haven Police Department, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in White Plains, New York and New Haven, Connecticut.
The charges contained in the federal Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica K. Feinstein is in charge of the prosecution