NJ Democratic Mayor and son arrested for political hacking and intimidation
A New Jersey mayor and his son were arrested Thursday by the FBI for allegedly hacking into an email account and website tied to a recall effort against the mayor— and then intimidating those associated with the site.
The Democratic mayor of West New York, Felix Roque, 55, and his son, 22 year old Joseph Roque stand accused of accessing and taking down the site because it was critical of the mayor and called for his recall
After the site, RecallRoque.com was taken down, Roque is alleged to have personally threatened or intimidated persons involved with the site. saying among other things, that the page had been taken down by “high government officials and that everyone would pay for getting involved against Mayor Roque.” He threatened to refer one to the Internal Revenue Service for an audit, according to the criminal complaint. Roque also allegedly threatened that he had a friend on the CIA: “A friend of mine. he works in the — I can’t tell you — three letters — CIA. You know. That’s how I get information. So what I’m doing is not very kosher.”
U.S. Attorney for the district of New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman said, “In this case, the elected leader of West New York and his son allegedly hacked into computers to intimidate constituents who were simply using the Internet to exercise their constitutional rights to criticize the government.”
The Roques are charged with gaining unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of causing damage to protected computers; causing damage to protected computers; and conspiracy to commit those crimes.
Felix and Joseph Roque appeared in shackles in federal court in Newark yesterday, where a judge told them that they could face up to 11 years in prison and $600,000 in fines. They were released on $100,000 bond each.