A man is facing a federal extortion charge for his alleged role in a phoned-in bomb threat last month to Harvard University demanding a large sum of Bitcoin, according to court documents.
William Giordani, who was taken into federal custody on Tuesday, is facing a conspiracy charge in addition to a count of aiding and abetting extortionate threats in connection with an alleged series of bomb threats that were made to the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university on April 13.
In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, a Harvard University police officer states that on April 13, the university’s police department got six calls regarding bombs and demand for payment, which featured a mechanical voice. During one of the calls, the voice on the other line gave a location and description of one of the devices, according to the affidavit.
Officers at Harvard found the device at the location mentioned by the caller, and in the days following, reviewed surveillance footage of the area, according to the complaint. Authorities believe Giordani can be seen in the video, placing the device at the location.
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With the help of the Cambridge Police Department’s bomb disposal unit, a controlled destruction was performed with a robot. Authorities said in the court documents that the contents of the red and black Husky tool bag were found to be a metal locking safe, a package of wire, a quantity of fireworks inside the safe and a small rectangular box with wire attached to it.
The package of wire had a yellow Home Depot sticker on it another man's name on it, according to federal authorities. Investigators were able to get ahold of the South Bay Home Depot, where someone by that name had allegedly placed an online for some of the supplies found in the device, like the safe and wires, court records said. Giordani was allegedly seen on camera picking up the order at the Home Depot.
In speaking with federal authorities, court documents said that Giordani claims that “’all he did’ was respond to a craigslist ad and place the fireworks — bottle rockets and roman candles — and a cable in a safe, put it in a bag, and place the bag at a square at Harvard.” Giordani said that he spoke to the person who placed the Craigslist ad, and that person told him that he would be calling Harvard police to make a bomb threat to get money.
A Craigslist ad link in the criminal complaint, which federal authorities said was listed from the same name as the Home Depot order, was seeking someone to drop off supplies at Harvard for their eldest son.
Giordani allegedly declined federal agents access to his phone or discuss the incident in detail during questioning.
It was unclear if Giordani has obtained an attorney who could speak to the allegations he is facing.