TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man today admitted making threatening telephone and email communications to New Jersey state officials, judges, law enforcement officers, and attorneys, and phoning in false bomb threats to local and state government offices, a police department, two law firms and a commercial establishment, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Eric G. Hafner, 31, formerly of Monmouth County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to one count of making threating communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort, one count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce, and one count of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between July 2016 and May 2018, while residing outside the United States, Hafner communicated threats to numerous individuals located in and around Monmouth County and elsewhere. The victims were elected officials, judges, police officers, attorneys, and their families. Hafner sought to extort $350,000 from some of his victims. During this time period, Hafner also made false bomb threats to an elected official’s office, a county courthouse, a police department, two law firms, and a commercial establishment.
The count of making threating communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hafner’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; officers of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; the Bradley Beach Police Department; Fairhaven Police Department; Aberdeen Police Department; the Hazlet Police Department; Shrewsbury Police Department; the Red Bank Police Department; the Freehold Township Police Department; the Middletown Police Department; the Neptune Township Police Department; the Oceanport Police Department; the Deal Police Department; and the Manasquan Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian D. Brater and R. Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.