Home Philadelphia Press Releases 2013 Philadelphia Man Pleads Guilty to Airport Hoax

Philadelphia Man Pleads Guilty to Airport Hoax

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 14, 2013
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200

PHILADELPHIA—Kenneth W. Smith, Jr., 26, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court today in connection with a hoax called in to authorities, on September 6, 2012, about explosives on an aircraft. Smith was charged with and pleaded guilty to malicious false information about an explosive and false information and hoaxes. U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 16, 2013. On September 6, 2012, Smith placed a telephone call to the Philadelphia Airport Police reporting that someone had allegedly carried an explosive substance onto an aircraft bound for Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport when Smith knew the statement was false. The report resulted in the flight being turned around and brought back to Philadelphia. Smith admitted he told police that an individual had carried liquid explosives onto the plane and that he targeted that individual in order to “avenge” a female.

Smith faces a maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, special assessments, supervised release, and restitution for the costs associated with the crimes. He has agreed to write a letter of apology to every passenger on board the flight, to reimburse the costs of emergency response, and to pay restitution to his victims

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Philadelphia Police Department, the Transportation Security Administration; and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.

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