California man threatened massacre at Small Business Administration because he didn’t get COVID emergency loans: DOJ

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LOS ANGELES – A Lakewood man was arrested on a federal criminal complaint filed today alleging he threatened to bomb Small Business Administration (SBA) offices and then, the following year, assault SBA employees in response to his inability to obtain COVID-19 emergency business loans.

Christopher Joseph Antoun, 29, was arrested Saturday on a complaint charging him with one count of making threats by interstate communication.

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Antoun owns Federal Student Loan Consulting LLC, a company he runs out of his Lakewood residence. In early 2020, Antoun attempted to obtain a COVID-19 Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These loans provide accessible and borrower-friendly capital to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 3, 2020, after he failed to receive approval for an EIDL loan or an advance from the SBA, Antoun allegedly sent an email to an SBA-monitored email account and wrote, in part, “IT GOES INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT TONIGHT OR I START BOMBING EVERY LOCATION OWNED BY THE SBA.” An SBA loan officer in Texas received Antoun’s email and contacted law enforcement, according to the affidavit.

Law enforcement visited Antoun at his home, where he said he was high on marijuana and drunk on alcohol when he sent the threatening email and had no intent of carrying out the threat, and law enforcement later gave him a warning, according to the affidavit.

During the summer and fall of 2021, Antoun again attempted to obtain SBA-backed loans and loan advances. Following difficulty in obtaining the loans and advances, Antoun on November 19 allegedly sent an email to several SBA employees. In that email, Antoun threatened to walk into the SBA’s Los Angeles district office “with my nice shiny bat” and “start beating the skulls of SBA staff in. Once the police or whoever it is eventually stops me im [sic] going to go to jail,” the affidavit states.

If convicted, Antoun would face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

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