Make sure that you don't owe this guy money.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by cbbr, May 20, 2005.

  1. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Jul 17, 2004
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    L.A. man held in Jersey al Qaeda hoax
    FBI says he accused cousin, in Plainfield, of plotting to bomb British Embassy in Toronto
    Wednesday, May 18, 2005
    Star-Ledger Staff
    The FBI arrested a Los Angeles man yesterday who sent counter-terrorism agents into overdrive last week when he called a 911 operator and reported that a Plainfield, N.J., store worker was an al Qaeda member plotting to blow up the British Embassy in Toronto, authorities said.

    After days of investigation, agents found the caller, Abdul Latif Katchi, and discovered his call was a hoax to exact revenge on a cousin who he said owes him money, according to a complaint filed in federal District Court in Newark.

    Katchi, 34, was charged with making false statements, a crime that carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. He is expected to be extradited to New Jersey in the coming days.

    Such prank calls and allegations aren't rare, but agents said the case was particularly troublesome because it required investigation on opposite ends of the United States and involved a foreign target in another country. At least six law enforcement agencies got involved in the probe.

    "When someone acts so irresponsibly that they would make a false alarm of this magnitude, their actions put the general public at risk," Pedro Ruiz, the acting special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark division, said yesterday. "Those actions will not go unpunished."

    A complaint filed by Special Agent Gary Adler said the incident began on Sunday, May 8, when a North Plainfield police dispatcher accepted a 911 phone call from an anonymous male. The caller said his relative, a worker in Plainfield, was an al Qaeda terrorist and "planning to blow up the British Embassy in Toronto."

    The police alerted the Union County Prosecutor's Office and ultimately the FBI. Some agents began investigating the unnamed worker while others worked to find the caller. Within a day, agents found Katchi and interviewed him.

    According to the complaint, he admitted he placed the call from a pay phone. He said he was angry and his relative owed him money.

    Katchi told the agents he hatched the idea "after seeing news coverage of an explosion in New York City," according to the complaint. On May 5, a blast damaged the New York building that houses the British consulate.

    The FBI did not identify the Plainfield worker, but spokesman Steve Siegel said the man said his cousin had made similar allegations before. Siegel said agents had no reason to suspect the worker, a Muslim, was involved in any such activity. "He was a victim," he said.

    Such threats and tips have dwindled since the barrage that followed the 9/11 attacks. But Siegel said the case highlighted the quick reaction of the bureau.

    "This was a major investigation in an extremely brief period of time," he said.

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