SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento man convicted of being behind an anthrax hoax and sending threatening mailings was sentenced Monday to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Additionally, Marc. M. Keyser, 66, will be liable for yet-unspecified restitution for the cost of responding to the scares, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.
Last September, a federal jury found Keyser guilty of three counts of committing an anthrax hoax and two counts of mailing threatening communications.
According to evidence presented at trial, in October 2008, Keyser mailed more than 100 packages containing a CD labeled "Anthrax Shock and Awe Terror" and a small package showing a bio-hazard symbol and the words "anthrax sample." The contents of the small packages were determined to be sugar.
The mailings went to media outlets around the country, including News10; Rep. George Radanovich's Modesto office; as well as retail outlets including a Sacramento Starbucks and McDonald's. The latter three locations constituted the counts on which Keyser was convicted.
In numerous instances, the prosecution said police, fire and hazmat crews were called to respond to the emergency calls.
Testimony was offered at trial that Keyser had been warned by an FBI agent in January 2007 to desist sending "anthrax"' mailings after he sent a package to Sacramento News and Review containing anthrax -related material including an aerosol can labeled "anthrax."
Keyser defended his actions, saying he intended the mailings to be "provocative" and increase awareness of the anthrax threat.