American-Israeli Bomb Hoax Suspect Made Millions Selling Fake Papers on Dark Web, Police Believe

Suspect sold fake passports, I.D.s and travel visas online, was paid in bitcoin, police believe.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
The Israeli-American JCC bomb hoax suspect, at a hearing in Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court, March 23, 2017.
The Israeli-American JCC bomb hoax suspect, at a hearing in Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court, March 23, 2017.Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The bitcoin account of the Israeli teenager suspected of calling in false bomb threats to Jewish organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere is worth millions of shekels, according to Israeli police, increasing suspicions that the youth received payment for providing services.

Police officials do not know yet who might have made the payments, but the investigation strongly suggests that the youth sold fake documents on the dark web, including passports, I.D.s and visas. Police also believe he was involved in selling drugs online.

Police are also investigating suspicions that the youth also hacked businesses in return for payment in bitcoin.

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Credit: Haaretz

The American-Israeli citizen was brought before a judge on Thursday and his detention was extended a third time by 12 days.

Police say they have made significant progress in the investigation.

After maintaining his right to remain silent in the early stages of the investigation, police officials say the suspect admitted to the incidents. The police say he may have made thousands of such phone calls.

Investigators also reportedly found that he acted in a planned and intelligent manner on the regular web as well as the so-called "dark web," contradicting the claim that he did not know what he was doing.

The investigative team believes that the investigation is branching out based on the findings obtained from the suspect’s computers, including the bitcoin account estimated to be worth millions of shekels.

Family fears extradition

The father of the American-Israeli teen expressed great regret for the threats on Monday. "To all of the Jews in the United States, I want to convey a clear message. We very much apologize from the bottom of our hearts," the father told Channel 2 television.

"We are good Jews. We don't hate you."

>> Bomb threat suspect’s identity embarrassing for Jews, but ultimately a relief | Analysis <<

"I was in total shock over what happened," said the father, who faced the investigation, which is conducted by police and the FBI, over whether he knew about his son's alleged threats at the time they were purportedly committed.

The parents of the suspect, who live with him in the coastal southern city of Ashkelon, have denied knowing anything about the threats before the teen's arrest, but they did not deny the allegations against their son.

New York City Police (NYPD) officers stand outside The Jewish Children's Museum following a bomb threat in Brooklyn, on March 9, 2017.Credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

Following the arrest of the son, who has not been identified publicly, his lawyer, Galit Bash, said her client was suffering from severe medical problems, apparently a reference to benign brain tumors. The father told Channel 2 that his son had had three operations to remove growths.

Last Saturday, teen's mother told Channel 2, weeping and emotional at times, that her son was “not a criminal,” because he “didn’t know what he was doing” when he made the threats. I’m so sorry about what happened, but he’s not guilty – it was the tumor,” she said. “This could happen to anyone who has a tumor on their brain.”

>> LISTEN: Recording of alleged bomb threat made by teen <<

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