ROCKFORD—A former Lake in the Hills man, Edward F. Bachner, IV, was sentenced today to serve seven years and eight months in federal prison for one count of wire fraud and one count of possession of a neurotoxin, Tetrodotoxin (TTX), with the intent to use it as a weapon. Bachner pleaded guilty on August 2, 2011, to engaging in a scheme to obtain money from insurance companies, admitting that he fraudulently purchased a $20 million life insurance policy on an unnamed individual. Bachner planned to profit from the death of the individual by collecting the life insurance proceeds. In addition, Bachner also admitted to posing as “Dr. Edmund Backer” and obtaining TTX, the deadly neurotoxin, in order to use it as a weapon.
Bachner, 39, was ordered to serve the 92-month sentence by U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala in federal court in Rockford. Bachner as also ordered to serve 64 months’ imprisonment on one count of filing a false tax claim, with the sentences to be served concurrently. Judge Kapala also ordered Bachner to pay restitution of $512,396 to the United States Treasury Department.
The sentence was announced today by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas Jankowski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
Bachner has remained in federal custody since he was arrested on June 30, 2008.
He was indicted in August 2008 for unlawfully acquiring and possessing Tetrodotoxin to use as a weapon on five separate occasions between November 7, 2006, and June 30, 2008, and possessing TTX in a quantity that was not reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona fide research or other peaceful purpose. According to court documents, Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin that has no known antidote and can only be treated with supportive therapy in an attempt to lessen the severity of the symptoms. Tetrodotoxin is naturally found in certain animal species, including puffer fish, and consumption of these animals can result in natural poisoning.
Dependent largely upon the amount of poisoning, Tetrodotoxin has a historical fatality rate of 50-60 percent. If death occurs, it is usually due to respiratory paralysis and can occur within six to 24 hours.
A superseding indictment in June 2009 charged Bachner with new counts, including wire fraud alleging that Bachner engaged in a scheme to obtain TTX to kill an individual to collect $20 million in life insurance proceeds; soliciting another in 2005 to commit a federal felony involving the use of force; using an interstate facility for murder for hire in 2005; and filing false claims for federal income tax refunds.
In pleading guilty, Bachner also acknowledged filing false federal income tax returns for tax years 2005, 2006, and 2007 and obtaining fraudulent tax refunds in excess of $300,000.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Rockford Office of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division. The Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is comprised of FBI special agents, officers from the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from approximately 20 other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The case was prosecuted in federal court by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark T. Karner and Michael D. Love.