Lakewood man charged with threatening to bomb agency that denied him COVID relief loan
A Lakewood man has been charged with threatening to bomb the offices of a federal agency that denied his request for an emergency pandemic loan for a business that he runs out of his home.
In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Christopher J. Antoun, 29, asked the U.S. Small Business Administration for a loan to Federal Student Loan Consulting LLC, a business that he owns, according to Thomas Smith, an agent at the Homeland Security Department.
When Antoun did not get the loan, he sent an angry and profane all-caps email to the SBA saying his business was eligible for the loan and demanding a $1,000 advance immediately, Smith alleged in a sworn statement filed in court.
“It goes into my bank account tonight or I start bombing every location owned by the SBA,” Antoun wrote in the email that he sent on May 3, 2020, according to Smith.
When Antoun was interviewed by unidentified law enforcement agents at his home the following week, he admitted sending the email but claimed he was “high on marijuana and drunk on alcohol” at the time and had no intention of bombing SBA offices, Smith said.
Antoun promised he would make no more threats to government agencies, Smith said, and consented to a search of his house. No explosives or guns were found.
Antoun was arrested Saturday on a charge of making threats by interstate communication. On Monday, a U.S. magistrate judge declined to release him on bail.
Neha Christerna, Antoun’s attorney, declined to comment.
In the summer and fall of 2021, Antoun applied again for SBA loans and advances, but had trouble getting any, according to Smith.
Last week, he sent several SBA employees another angry email punctuated with typos. Smith, an agent with the Homeland Security Department’s Federal Protective Service, included excerpts in his court statement.
“You clearly arent going to give it to me even tho YOURE SUPPOSED TO SINCE I LEGALLY QUALIFY!” Antoun wrote.
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He told the government officials that all he cared about was making sure that they start “suffering some consequences.”
“Within the next hour I’m getting picked up and dropped off at the LA district office,” he said. “Im gonna walk in with my nice shiny bat. Im gonna start beating the skulls of SBA staff in.”
Once the police captured him, Antoun wrote, he would have his father provide news media with all of his correspondence to expose what he viewed as fraudulent conduct by the SBA. He wrote: “even if i never get the money and i end up going to jail for the next few years ill be happy.”
Upon receiving the email, SBA supervisors confirmed that no employees were physically present in the agency’s downtown Los Angeles office and notified the building’s security guards of the threats.
Three days later, he was arrested.
If convicted, Antoun will face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
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