Dutchess County Man Pleads Guilty to Mailing Hoax Letters and White Powder to Federal Offices in New York

Date: 
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York:

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jason Pantone, age 34, of Hyde Park, New York, pled guilty today to conveying false information and hoax letters in connection with envelopes containing white powder he mailed to federal offices throughout Upstate and Central New York, and the Southern Tier.

The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

As part of his guilty plea, Pantone admitted that beginning on February 21, 2019 and until his arrest on February 27, 2019, he mailed envelopes containing white power to Social Security Administration offices in Binghamton, Plattsburgh and Utica, New York.  He also mailed white powder letters addressed to the United States District Court in Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Plattsburgh, and Utica.  Each of the envelopes contained a typed note, which read “ANTHRAX.”  Some of the letters included a smiley face with X’s in place of the eyes.  All samples of the white powder were tested and yielded negative results for anthrax or other hazardous material.

United States District Judge Mae D’Agostino scheduled sentencing for February 10, 2021.  Pantone, who has been in custody since the date of his arrest, faces up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and 1 year of post-imprisonment supervised release.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

This case was investigated by the FBI Albany Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Protective Service, the New York State Police, the New York State Department of Health, and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Anderson.