Already a Bloomberg.com user?
Sign in with the same account.
The mayor of West New York, New Jersey, a town just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and his son were arrested and charged with hacking into an e-mail account and website set up to recall him from office.
Felix Roque, 55, and his son Joseph, 22, appeared today in federal court in Newark on charges of gaining unauthorized access to computers and causing damage to them, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said in a statement. The two didn’t enter pleas and were released on $100,000 personal bond.
“The elected leader of West New York and his son allegedly hacked into computers to intimidate constituents who were simply using the Internet to exercise their constitutional rights to criticize the government,” Fishman said in the statement.
The website, www.recallroque.com, was set up by an unidentified Hudson County resident in February for the posting of commentary on the mayor, who is a Democrat, and his administration, according to prosecutors.
Joseph Roque hacked into online accounts connected to the website and disabled it, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint. They said the mayor then “harassed and attempted to intimidate” those associated with the site.
Joe Lauro, a lawyer for Felix Roque, didn’t return calls seeking comment on the charges.
Roque is the second New Jersey mayor to be charged with a federal crime in the past month. Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo, a Republican, was accused of participating in an extortion-bribery scheme in a criminal complaint filed April 25 in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey.
The case is U.S. v. Roque, 12-03645, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).
To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at firstname.lastname@example.org.