A Minnesota man has been indicted for hacking into his neighbor's WiFi network and posing as the neighbor to threaten US Vice President Joe Biden and email child pornography, the US Department of Justice said.
The indictment, filed Thursday in US District Court for the District of Minnesota, charges Barry Vincent Ardolf, 45, of Blaine, Minnesota, with two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of making threats to the president and successors to the presidency, one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of distribution of child pornography.
The indictment alleges that in February 2009, Ardolf hacked into his neighbour's WiFi network and created multiple Yahoo.com email accounts in the neighbor's name. On May 6, 2009, Ardolf used one of those accounts to email Biden's office, the DOJ said in a press release.
The email read: "This is a terrorist threat! Take this seriously. I hate the way you people are spending money you don't have... I'm assigning myself to be judge jury and executioner. Since you folks have spent what you don't have it's time to pay the ultimate price. Time for new officials after you all are put to death by us ..."
Ardolf allegedly sent the same email to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and one of the state's US senators, the DOJ said. Ardolf allegedly signed the email with the name of his neighbor and the neighbor's wife.
The indictment also alleges that in February 2009, Ardolf posed as the neighbor and used the email accounts he created in the victim's name to send sexually themed emails to three of the victim's co-workers. In one of the emails, Ardolf attached an image containing child pornography, the DOJ said.
Ardolf also allegedly created a MySpace page in the victim's name, on which he posted the same image of child pornography.
If convicted, Ardolf faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the distribution of child pornography charge, 10 years on the pornography possession charge, five years on both the unauthorised access to a computer charge and the threats to the vice president charge, and a mandatory two year minimum prison sentence on each count of aggravated identity theft.
Ardolf backed out of a plea agreement earlier this month. He told his lawyer he didn't commit the crimes, according to news reports.