Virginia Man Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison for Stalking
Fayetteville, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that James Daniel Hobgood, age 36, of Manakin Sabot, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to 12 months and one (1) day in prison followed by three (3) years supervised release on one count of Stalking. Hobgood was also ordered to perform 180 hours of community service and to pay over $2,300.00 in victim restitution. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
According to the plea agreement, in August, 2015, a female contacted law enforcement in the Western District of Arkansas claiming that she was being persistently harassed by James Daniel Hobgood who lived in Richmond, Virginia. The victim reported to agents with Homeland Security Investigations that she had met and to some extent became romantically involved with Hobgood while living in Richmond, however, after a short period of time, she began rebuffing his advances. In January, 2015, she moved from Richmond to Northwest Arkansas and Hobgood began contacting her by email, Facebook messages, and third party text messages, demanding that she apologize to him in person. When she did not acquiesce to Hobgood’s demand, he created publically accessible social media accounts in which he represented her to be an exotic dancer and escort. He sent letters to her employer both by the internet and the U.S. Postal Service, claiming that she was a stripper and an escort in an attempt to get her fired. He repeatedly contacted her and her family demanding that she apologize or that he would continue to expose certain alleged aspects of her past. Hobgood’s behavior caused her substantial emotional distress resulting in her being hospitalized for a short period of time. When agents contacted Hobgood about his involvement with the victim, he informed them that he would not stop contacting her until he cost the victim her job based on her lies, and/or that she repent for the perceived wrongs she committed against him. He admitted to sending the victim, her family, and her employer communications by internet, telephone, and postal service telling them she was an exotic dancer and that he was not going to stop. Law enforcement was able to corroborate the claims of the victim by his cell phone history and Facebook history. Hobgood was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 28, 2015 and pleaded guilty on April 13, 2016.
“This case demonstrates that we will investigate, arrest and seek prosecution of anyone utilizing the internet or mail services for nefarious intentions”, said ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. “Stalking and harassing someone over the internet or through the mail is a serious matter and we will continue working with our state and local law enforcement partners to ensure these types of criminals are brought to justice.”
This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations, Richmond, Virginia Police Department, and the Henrico County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Denis Dean prosecuted the case for the United States.
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Related court documents may be found on the Public Access to Electronic Records website @ www.pacer.gov