Reports coming from the U.S authorities have revealed that an American-Israeli teenager charged with making bomb threats to Jewish community centers as well as schools over the United States advertised his services on an online darknet marketplace which is no more and may even have had a customer. He was accused of a swell of bomb threats against over dozens of Jewish community centers.
Unsealed court documents obtained recently by a federal court suggests that 18 year old Michael Kadar advertised a “School Email Bomb Threat Service” on AlphaBay, an online marketplace for illegal goods and services that were taken down by the U.S Justice Department in July. He offered to send customized threats to schools at a price of $30, plus a $15 surcharge if the buyer wanted to have someone framed for it.
He also charged double the amount if the buyer wanted a threatening email to a school district or multiple schools. An entire district or districts with more than 12 schools however required a “custom listing”. According to the post, he stated that he was available “almost 24/7 to make emails,” and promised to make refunds if a threat produced no evidence of success.
“There is no guarantee that the police will question or arrest the framed person,” Kadar allegedly wrote in his advert.
“I just add the person’s name to the email,” he said. “In addition, my experience of doing bomb threats and putting someone’s name in the emailed threat will reduce the chance of the threat being successful. But it’s up to you if you would like me to frame someone.”
According to authorities, Kadar made 245 threatening calls from January to March to Jewish Community Centers and schools around the United States with the aid of an online calling service that concealed his voice and allowed him to stay anonymous. The threats resulted in evacuations, which had Jewish communities panicking. This prompted many centers to improve security amid raised fears of a revival in anti-Semitism.
His arrest came in late March in Israel and has been charged in a federal court in Orlando, Florida, with 28 counts of making threatening calls to airports, schools and Jewish centers and also conveying false information to police. He was previously accused by Israeli authorities of earning about $240,000 worth of Bitcoin after selling his threat services on the darknet marketplace.
After his arrest, the FBI and other investigators sought a warrant to search several AlphaBay accounts, under the username or alias “Darknet–Legend,” which was linked to Kadar after examining his laptop according to the unsealed court documents. A flash drive also seized from Kadar’s home, had a document which was almost indistinguishable to an AlphaBay post made by “Darknet–Legend” offering bomb-threat services for sale.
The investigation previously led to the conviction of Juan Thompson, a journalist, who pleaded guilty in June to making several threats to Jews but was allegedly just trying to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend.
Kadar’s lawyer in Jerusalem, Gait Bash, said moments after his arrest that her client had a “very serious medical condition” that might have affected his behavior. An attempt to obtain a comment from her on Tuesday, however, proved futile after failing to return a number of calls.
Whether anyone actually paid Kadar for a threat on the darknet marketplace is actually unknown. Kadar under the username “Darknet–Legend” had positive reviews with one AlphaBay user writing in one post that the threats were “Amazing on time and on target. We got evacuated and got the day cut short.” Federal agents said in court papers that, the comment was believed to be linked to an emailed threat made to Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, California, north of San Francisco based on the date and time it was posted which was just a day after.
The U.S. and European law enforcement officials announced in July they had taken AlphaBay, the world’s biggest leading darknet marketplace which dealt in drug and firearm trafficking, computer hacking tools and other illicit goods and services.
According to authorities, “AlphaBay had extreme measures to conceal the identities of its vendors and customers, and it promoted money-laundering services to mask the flow of Bitcoin and other digital currencies from investigators”.
Many reports suggest that authorities had been tracking AlphaBay for a while according to the court documents in Kadar’s case. The search warrant applications obtained touches on screenshots of Kadar’s activity on the marketplace taken in mid-March. Suspicions are growing after it was revealed that the Kadar documents were unsealed on July 19, the day before the Justice Department announced that AlphaBay had been shut down.
Kadar’s parents have however stated that their son has a brain tumor that caused autism and other mental problems, making him unable to understand the nature of his actions.