Beaumont man sentenced for fake ISIS threat at refinery
A Beaumont man was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison Tuesday for making a terroristic threat to an Exxon Mobil refinery, according to the Eastern District of Texas Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.
Lance Giovanni Fontenot, 23, pleaded guilty to “maliciously conveying false information about explosive material,” according to a press release from Featherston’s office.
On June 15, 2016, Fontenot called the Exxon Mobil refinery on Burt Street in Beaumont and “claimed that explosive devices were set to detonate at packages placed around the exterior of the facility at a specific time that day,” the release said. In the call, he said an employee with ties to terrorist organization ISIS had placed the explosives on the property with a family member.
The threat was determined to be false, and Fontenot was identified within hours, according to the release. The employee named in the call had previously been in a romantic relationship with Fontenot.
“Fontenot admitted to knowingly lying about the threat of explosives and was aware that his actions would disrupt the operations of a plan with an interstate pipeline that would result in a significant financial loss to the company,” the release said. He “stated the purpose for the threat was to retaliate at the named employee for discontinuing their romantic relationship. Fontenot also admitted to lying about the employee having any known connection with a terrorist organization.”
Fontenot was ordered to pay more than $370,000 in restitution to Exxon Mobil, the cost of shutting down the pipeline during the threat.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Woods prosecuted the case; Fontenot was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.