Man convicted of making threatening calls to Newtown residents

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HARTFORD–A man who was charged with threatening dozens of Newtown families just days after the Sandy Hook tragedy pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday.

Wilfrido Cardenas Hoffman, 31, of El Hatillo, Venezuela, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls to residents of Newtown.

On Dec. 16, 2012, just two days after the shooting, Hoffman used VoIP on an iPod to call numerous Newtown residences from his home in Venezuela. In all, Hoffman made more than 90 calls to 47 phone numbers in Newtown. Not all of the calls went through or were answered.

In one of the calls, Hoffman said, “This is Adam Lanza. I’m gonna [expletive] kill you. You’re dead. You’re dead. You hear me? You’re dead.” In another call, Hoffman said, “This is Adam Lanza. I’m gonna kill you. You’re dead. With my machine gun. You’re dead [expletive].”

Hoffman was initially charged on May 20, 2013, but the complaint was sealed until he was arrested on June 21, 2014 in Miami. He had a layover at Miami International Airport during a trip from Venezuela to Mexico.

“These threatening calls, just two days after the tragedy, compounded the collective suffering of all of the citizens of Newtown and needlessly stressed law enforcement resources at a critical time,” said Deidre Daly, the U.S. attorney for the district of Connecticut. “It is reprehensible criminal conduct.  We are committed to investigating similar hoax crimes and prosecuting all who commit them, here and abroad.”

The maximum sentence for threatening phone calls is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Hoffman will be sentenced on Feb. 12, 2015.

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