The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday indicted the 19-year-old alleged computer hacker Michael Kadar, who is under arrest in Israel, they said.
The hoax threats to the Jewish community centers forced widespread evacuations and raised fears of a resurgence in anti-Semitism.
Kadar, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, was indicted by grand juries in Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia for making threats from January to March 2017, the Justice Department said in a statement.
The Jewish teenager from Ashkelon in Israel was indicted for allegedly calling police in January 2017 about a hoax hostage situation at a home in Athens, Georgia, which included a threat to kill responding officers. Kadar also faces a federal cyberstalking indictment in Georgia, Reuters reported.
In Florida, Kadar was charged with making multiple threatening calls about bomb threats and gun attacks against Jewish community centers throughout the state in January and February 2017. He also is alleged to have made bomb threats against the Orlando International Airport and a school.
Kadar was already charged in Israel in April 2017 with thousands of counts on offenses that include publishing false information, causing panic, computer hacking and money laundering. He was arrested in Israel in March 2017 in a joint operation with the FBI.
The statement did not say whether he would be extradited to the United States.
If convicted, Kadar faces up to 20 years in prison for each hate crime charge and a maximum of 10 years for each bomb threat charge. The interstate threats charge, the hoax charge and cyberstalking charge call for up to five years in prison apiece.
In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League applauded the indictment and reiterated its view that the actions attributed to Kadar were anti-Semitic hate crimes,
“Make no mistake, these threats were acts of anti-Semitism and deserve to be treated as a hate crime,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “They targeted Jewish institutions in order to stoke fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert.”
ADL “especially appreciates the fact that these federal charges recognize that these threats constituted crimes,” he added.
Kadar’s parents and lawyer have not disputed his involvement in the bomb threats but said in his defense that he has a brain tumor and a low IQ.