Ohio man receives probation for anthrax hoax letter

An Ohio man who started a bioterrorism scare when he mailed a white powder-filled letter to a Texas marketing company was recently sentenced to three years probation by a federal court.

Bruce Massey sent what turned out to be a harmless substance the Allied Marketing Group, but the act rekindled fears of the 2001 anthrax attacks that left five people dead, according to Chronicle.NorthcoastNow.com.

Along with the white powder, Massey sent a credit card offer with numerous expletives and sexual references written on it. Prosecutors said that Massey hoped to create the impression that the powder was a biological toxin.

In September, Massey pleaded guilty to one count of false information or hoaxes in the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio, Chronicle.NorthcoastNow.com reports.

Mike Tobin, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, said that Massey’s attorney explained in court that he had become irate when receiving a mailing from the marketing company because he thought they were trying to scam him. Massey had previously been a victim of identity theft.

During the hearing, Massey apologized for his actions. In addition to three years of probation, he has also been ordered to pay $7,307 in restitution. His lawyer has not commented on the sentence.