Man Who Sent Anthrax Hoax Letters Sentenced to Time Served

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -

A man who sent anthrax hoax letters to federal offices and courts in New York and Connecticut has been sentenced to time served, covering the two years he already spent in jail.

Joseph Pantone, 36, was sentenced in Albany federal court on Monday for sending envelopes containing white powder and a note that read “anthrax” to more than a dozen government offices in February 2019.

The letters, which were sent to locations including Social Security Administration Offices and U.S. District Court offices in Albany and Syracuse, New York, and Hartford and Torrington, Connecticut, did not contain anthrax or any hazardous material.

“Mr. Pantone’s actions caused widespread panic and fear for employees who simply showed up to work that day, and he spent two years in jail as a result,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Relford said.

Pantone, of Hyde Park, was arrested on Feb. 27, 2019, and had been in custody since that time. He pleaded guilty in October to conveying a hoax letter involving anthrax.

Pantone’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Matthew Trainor, told Judge Mae D’Agostino on Monday that his client had mental health issues and failed to consider the significance of what he was doing.

Pantone told the judge he never intended to harm anyone. “I did not realize the repercussions that my actions would have,” he said.

D’Agostino also imposed a three-year term of supervised release.