An American-Israeli teenager who made bomb threats for a living has been sentenced to a decade in prison by a Tel Aviv court after making a small fortune in bitcoin.
According to prosecutors, 19-year old Michael Kadar was responsible for around 2,000 bomb hoaxes between 2015 and 2017, threats which earned him the nickname the “JCC bomb hoaxer” in Israel due to his focus on Jewish Community Centers. Other targets included commercial airlines, airports, police stations, malls, hospitals, and schools, per The New York Times.
To make bomb threats to commercial jets Kadar, charged US$500, while bomb threats to private residences cost US$40. Kadar, who was home-schooled due to an autistic condition that made integration difficult, charged US$80 to make a bomb threat to schools.
Per court documents, Kadar offered his services on the dark net, and he was paid in bitcoin, generating close to 184 BTC (around US$0.8 million at current prices) in the course of the “career” that started when he was a minor.
According to media reports in Israel, some of the bomb threats Kadar made to schools occurred after he was paid by students who wanted to have exams postponed. The bomb hoaxes generated panic and resulted in forced mass evacuations as police and emergency services responded. In some instances, fighter jets were scrambled in order to escort commercial planes that had been forced to land.
“One can easily imagine the terror, the fear and the horror that gripped the airplane passengers who were forced to make an emergency landing, some of whom were injured while evacuating the plane and the terrified panic caused when there was a need to evacuate pupils from schools because of fake bomb threats,” read the verdict from Judge Zvi Gurfinkel.
Among the countries that Kadar’s campaign of terror was visited upon included Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium, and Argentina.
Kadar, who made the bomb threats from his parent’s home in Ashkelon, a coastal city in southern Israel, used sophisticated software that altered his voice and disguised his location. An investigation into his crimes took the efforts of the Israeli Police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as other security agencies from around the world.
Though several thousand US dollars in cash were found on Kadar when his home was raided, the teen refused to disclose the details of his bitcoin wallet, which is believed to contain the bulk of his earnings.
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Last modified: June 14, 2020 9:34 AM UTC