Five-Year Sentence for Bomb Plot Hoaxes Against Ford Federal Building and Palisades Nuclear Plant
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 15, 2013|
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Anthony Mario Fortuna, 36, of Allendale, Michigan, was sentenced Monday to serve the maximum authorized penalty of five years in federal prison for falsely reporting to the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) plots to bomb the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building in Grand Rapids and the Palisades Nuclear Plant in Covert, Michigan. Fortuna pled guilty to the charge in September 2012.
The sentence was imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney in Kalamazoo, who commented that the maximum sentence was necessary based on Fortuna’s prior criminal history, which included a 2000 Federal conviction in Alabama for lying to the FBI about a murder-for-hire plot, and because the false reports required both the FBI and the USMS to waste time and resources conducting extensive investigations of what, if true, would have been extremely serious plots.
Commenting on the sentence, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. stated, “Falsely reporting a serious crime to federal law enforcement agencies is itself a serious crime because it wastes the limited resources of agencies such as the FBI and of my office. Time spent running down false leads is time that cannot be spent pursuing genuine crime. For that reason, there is nothing harmless or funny about hoaxes such as those perpetrated by Mr. Fortuna, and people who engage in them will be treated sternly.”
Fortuna perpetrated the first hoax in February 2010, when he reported a fictitious plot by several others to blow up the Ford Building in retaliation for a federal prosecution that was, in fact, ongoing at the time. Joint investigation by the FBI and USMS established that Fortuna’s story was a hoax. Four months later, however, Fortuna again contacted the FBI with another false report, this time involving an insider plot against the Palisades plant. After a second investigation by the FBI determined that this story was also untrue, Fortuna was indicted on two counts of making false statements to federal agents. Although the second charge involving the Palisades facility was dismissed as part of his plea-agreement with the Justice Department, Fortuna admitted that he committed both offenses and explained that he was motivated by a desire to gain favor with the FBI in the hope that doing so would limit his punishment in state of Michigan prosecutions that were then ongoing. U.S. District Judge Maloney was able to consider all of the conduct in selecting a sentence.