New York man pleads guilty to mailing anthrax hoax

A Buffalo, New York, man recently pleaded guilty in a federal court to sending an anthrax mail hoax.

Cory Kent said he was inspired by a YouTube video of Occupy Wall Street protest techniques. Kent pleaded guilty to perpetrating a hoax by mailing a threatening envelope. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000, according to GSNMagazine.com.

Federal investigators said that Kent mailed two envelopes containing a white powder to two large U.S. banks from a mailbox at Daemon College in Amherst, New York, last November. A postal carrier discovered the envelopes while emptying the contents of the mailbox when a puff of powder came out of them.

Kent allegedly filled the envelopes with baby powder as a prank. He had hoped to scare whoever opened them, according to federal law enforcement authorities.

The would-be prankster said that he decided to mail the powder after watching a video posted on YouTube that showed members of an Occupy Wall Street group carrying out a similar stunt. In the video, the protestors advocated mailing pre-paid envelopes received from banks back to the same banks, but stuffed with additional items to increase their costs, GSNMagazine.com reports.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted the investigation in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service, the Amherst Police Department and the Town of Amherst Emergency Services.

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