A Lakewood man was arrested on suspicion of threatening to bomb Small Business Administration offices and assault the agency’s employees with a bat after he didn’t get COVID-19 emergency business loans, officials said Monday.
The two threats were emailed to the U.S. agency more than a year apart, each time after 29-year-old Christopher Joseph Antoun didn’t get approval to obtain a COVID-19 Emergency Injury Disaster Loan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
In the first email sent May 3, 2020, Antoun wrote: “It goes into my bank account tonight or I start bombing every location owned by the SBA,” according to the criminal complaint.
A loan officer in Texas saw the email and contacted law enforcement.
Officers went to Antoun’s house, where he told them he was high on marijuana and drunk on alcohol when he sent the email, and that had no intent of carrying out the threat. Law enforcement didn’t find any firearms or explosives and left him with a warning, according to the affidavit.
Last week, Antoun allegedly sent another threatening email to the agency.
“Within the next hour I’m getting picked up and dropped off at the LA district office. Im gonna walk in with my nice shiny bat. Im gonna start beating the skulls of SBA staff in,” the email read, according to the complaint. “Once the police or whoever it is eventually stops me im going to go to jail.”
He had again tried to obtain SBA-backed loans and loan advances and was faced with difficulty in obtaining them, according to the Department of Justice.
The man owns Federal Student Loan Consulting LLC, a company he runs out of his Lakewood home, and was trying to get loans that were being given to small businesses affected by the pandemic, officials said.
Antoun was arrested Saturday on a complaint charging him with one count of making threats by interstate communication.
He made his initial appearance Monday at the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, where he was ordered to stay in jail without bond.
If convicted as charged, Antoun would face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. His arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 10.
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