May 19, 2010 - David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JUAN RIVERA, JR., 42, of Derby, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to one count of conveying false information or perpetrating a hoax.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from March 2001 to June 2009, RIVERA was employed as a maintenance mechanic for United Illuminating at the Connecticut Financial Center, a 26-floor office building located at 157 Church Street in New Haven. During the course of RIVERA’s employment as a mechanic at United Illuminating, he became familiar with tenants that maintained offices in the building, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Probation Office, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and the chambers for a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In pleading guilty, RIVERA admitted that, on May 22, 2009, he wrote two notes claiming that a bomb would go off that day. The first note, which stated that, “a bomb will go off at noon today,” was placed on a vending machine located on the fourth floor. The second note, which stated that, “a bomb will go off at 1:00 p.m. today,” was placed near a sink in a kitchenette area on the fifth floor. Both notes were placed in areas open and accessible to tenants or authorized guests.
RIVERA has stated that he intended the notes as a joke on one of his co-workers.
When the first note was found at approximately 11:23 a.m., the building was evacuated and authorities were called to search the building. During the course of the search of the building, the second note was found. RIVERA was not in the building when the two notes were discovered.
Judge Burns has scheduled sentencing for July 30, 2010, at which time RIVERA faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the New Haven Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul McConnell.