Sunday, March 03, 2019

Beverly Man Arrested for Sending Threatening Letters and White Powder to an Online Dating Website

BOSTON – A Beverly man was arrested today and charged in federal court in Boston for sending nine letters, one of which contained a white powder, to the online dating website

Liam MacLeod, 47, was charged by criminal complaint with mailing threatening communications and conveying false information and hoaxes. He will appear today in federal court in Boston at 3:30 p.m.

According to the complaint, between September and December 2017, OkCupid’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, received nine mailings containing either threatening communications and/or suspicious substances. All of the mailings were addressed to OkCupid’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

It is alleged that on or about Sept. 12, 2017, MacLeod mailed an envelope addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas containing a suspicious white powder, along with a handwritten letter with the following text:

          Greeting from Beverly

          Ban me will ya

          Welcome to the wonderful world of ANTHRAX

          Expect a package within the next couple of days

          It won’t be ticking but it should be interesting!

On or about Sept. 14, 2017, MacLeod allegedly mailed another envelope addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas containing a typewritten letter with the following message, amongst other text:

          How’d you like what I sent you?  Aww, go take a powder. Oh, the things I have in store for you!  I            can go on like this for years. How long can you last?

          Incidentally, my father was an angel: That’s Hell’s

          Angel to you.  You see, we have some pull.  Take for

          example your vehicles.  We now know who owns

          what, and where each of you parks his.

          Hmm, think of the possibilities!

On or about Sept. 20, 2017, the complaint alleges that MacLeod sent a third envelope to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas. The envelope and its contents, a single piece of white paper, each contained significant red-brown staining consistent with blood. The next day, Sept. 21, 2017, MacLeod mailed another letter addressed to OkCupid’s CEO containing a typewritten letter wherein MacLeod indicated that the red-brown staining on the previous letter was blood infected with the AIDS virus.

It is further alleged that between Oct. 4, 2017 and Dec. 21, 2017, MacLeod mailed five additional envelopes addressed to OkCupid’s CEO in Dallas, each containing threatening communications and/or suspicious substances. Each of these mailings generated a hazmat response by federal law enforcement in order to rule out the presence of active biological or chemical agents. Laboratory testing later confirmed that the substances contained in the envelopes mailed by MacLeod, including the white powdery substance, did not contain hazardous materials.

The charge of false information and hoaxes provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of mailing threatening communications provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and David W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, made the announcement today. The investigation was conducted by the FBI Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the Beverly Police Department. OkCupid and its parent company has been fully cooperative with the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jason A. Casey of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.

Details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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