Home Philadelphia Press Releases 2013 Philadelphia Man Sentenced for False Claim of Explosives on a Plane

Philadelphia Man Sentenced for False Claim of Explosives on a Plane

U.S. Attorney’s Office April 22, 2013
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200

PHILADELPHIA—Kenneth W. Smith, Jr., 26, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today in federal court to 15 months in prison for calling in a hoax regarding explosives on a commercial aircraft on September 6, 2012. Smith was targeting a male passenger on a flight from Philadelphia to Dallas, Texas, when called police to falsely report that the individual had carried liquid explosives on to the plane. Smith’s motive, according to his statement to authorities after his arrest, was to “avenge” a female that both men knew. As a result of Smith’s actions, the airplane was turned around mid-air, and law enforcement agents stormed the plane.

Smith pleaded guilty on January 14, 2013, to malicious false information about an explosive and false information and hoaxes. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter ordered Smith to: write a letter of apology to each of the passengers on board the plane; pay restitution of more than $17,000 to USAir, law enforcement, and the victims on the plane for costs associated with his crime; pay $200 in special assessments; and complete three years of supervised release to include 100 hours of community service per year.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.