GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Michigan man has been sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for false reporting plots to bomb the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert, Mich. and the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building in Grand Rapids.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles, Jr. says Anthony Fortuna, 36, of Allendale, Mich. told the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service in February 2010 about a plot by several others to blow up the Ford Building in retaliation for a federal prosecution that was ongoing at the time.
A joint investigation by the FBI and USMS found Fortuna’s story was a hoax.
Miles says four months later, 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 this story was also untrue, Fortuna was indicted on two counts of making false statements to federal agents.
Although the second charge involving Palisades was dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the Justice Department, Fortuna admitted he committed both offenses and said he was motivated by a desire to gain favor with the FBI in hopes that doing so would limit his punishment in Michigan prosecutions that were then ongoing.
Fortuna pled guilty to the bomb plot hoaxes in September 2012.
His sentence was imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney in Kalamazoo, who said the maximum sentence of 5 years in prison was necessary based on Fortuna’s prior criminal history. That history includes 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 USMS to waste time and resources conducting extensive investigations of what, if true, would have been extremely serious plots.
“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,” said Miles. “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.”