Illinois man receives probation for anthrax hoax

A former Livingston, Ill., man who mailed an envelope containing a substance he claimed was anthrax has received a sentence of three years of probation for his guilty plea to federal charges.
Gary James Smith was sentenced in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., on Monday, where he had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of an indictment charging him with mailing threatening communication and making a false threat, The Telegraph reports. The alleged violations occurred on June 19, 2010 in Madison County, Ill..
According to court documents, Smith mailed an envelope to a Livingston family. The envelope contained a white granular substance. The letter accompanying the substance stated that the recipients' hands were on fire, that they had been infected with a disease purported to be anthrax and that they should report to the hospital immediately.
Smith used food ingredients to mimic anthrax, The Telegraph reports.

Smith was sentenced to three years of probation, a $1,000 fine and a $200 special assessment for the anthrax hoax.
The case was handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Illinois state police and the U.S. Postal Inspector.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is classified as a Category A bioterrorism agent because it poses the greatest possible threat for a bad effect on public health, requires a great deal of planning to protect the public's health and may spread across a large area or require public awareness.