The 19-year-old Teen Sold Bomb Threats Against Jewish Centers, Schools
An Israeli American teenager who was arrested on March 23 in connection with a string of bomb threats made to at least 245 schools and Jewish community centers (JCCs) in the U.S. earlier this year has been indicted for running a bomb threat business on the online black market.
Israeli prosecutors said the suspect made thousands of hoax bomb calls, including schools, shopping malls, police stations, airlines and airports in North America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Denmark.
According to unsealed court documents, the FBI revealed that Michael Kadar, 19, was running a “School Email Bomb Threat Service” on AlphaBay, a dark web marketplace which sold illegal goods and services until it was shut down by the U.S. authorities in July.
Kadar use to issue bomb threats through emails that contained the message “Comrades [had] planted a few bombs at school,” and that students and staff members will be “massacred mercilessly shortly”, which gave rise to fears of increasing anti-Semitism and provoking scores of evacuations, the FBI alleges.
A newly unsealed search warrant alleges that for each bomb threat, Kadar used to charge $30 and if the client wanted to frame an individual for the message, he would charge an additional $15.
Kadar was arrested by the police in Israel in March after he failed to route his internet connection via a proxy server that in turn gave away his IP address. He was arrested under suspicion that he was behind a wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions in the U.S.
When the police raided Kadar’s residence, they found a flash drive containing the teen’s personal records on his alleged bomb threats.
Kadar allegedly joined the dark web market AlphaBay under the username “Darknet_Legend” on February 8.
“I have saved email bomb threat texts when I email the bomb threat,” Kadar allegedly advertised in an AlphaBay post under the name Darknet_Legend. “If you request that I send the school a custom email text that you wrote then give me the bomb threat text that you wrote in the buyer notes and I will send the school the text you provided.”
The post offered refunds to its customers for unsuccessful bomb threats, and tiered pricing ranging from $30 for a single threat, to $90 for “emailed bomb threat to a school districts\multiple schools + framing someone for it”.
For this latter service, Darknet_Legend added a warning: “there is a no guarantee that the police will question or arrest the framed person,” he wrote in the advertisement. “I just add the persons name to the email. In addition in my experience of doing bomb threats putting someones name in the emailed threat will reduce the chance of the threat being successful. But it’s up to you if you would like me to frame someone.”
And the business even had a very good review where one AlphaBay user wrote: “Amazing on time and on target. We got evacuated and got the day cut short” — that online post, made hours after a threat made to Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, California, north of San Francisco was closed as police investigated a threat.
Kadar totally racked up $240,000 for his services by the time he was arrested. He is facing accusations of making threats for financial gain alongside charges of money laundering and the attempted blackmail of Ernesto Lopez, a Delaware state senator. Kadar has been charged in the U.S. and Israel simultaneously. However, he has not been extradited to America until now. If he gets convicted on the charges in Israel, he can face up to 10 years in prison.
The teen’s U.S. born mother and Israeli father say their son, who moved to Israel aged 5 and lives with them in the southern city of Ashkelon, suffers from health problems.
“He has high-level autism. I appeal to the world on his behalf for forgiveness for he does not know what he has done,” his mother told reporters. “This tumour has caused a state of some type of mental dysfunction that he is not aware of what he is doing. My son does not hate anyone.”