CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Bethann Marie Wallace, 48, of Baldwinsville, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with interstate communication of a threat. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean C. Eldridge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York in Rochester, the criminal complaint alleges that on July 10, 2020, the Washington D.C. office of New York Congressman John Katko received a threatening voice mail that included a threat to kill the Congressman.
Congressman Katko’s office reported the voicemail to the United States Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, which began an investigation in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The telephone number that the call originated from traced back to the defendant.
As a result of the threat, security surrounding Congressman Katko was increased. Since Congressman Katko formerly served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of New York, that Office was recused, and the case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York.
Wallace made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks, and is being held pending a detention hearing on September 21, 2020, at 2:30 p.m.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent-in-Charge, Albany Field Division; the New York State Police, under the direction of Acting Major Barry Chase; and the United States Capitol Police, under the direction of Chief Steven A. Sund.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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