Amin Abbas Eltayeb, 22, of North Miami Beach, is charged with sending ten threatening letters to several people including a Palm Beach County judge, prosecutor, and sheriff’s deputy, as well as the Davie police chief and the wife and neighbor of one of his officers.
By Paula McMahon, Sun SentinelIt started with a $750 loan to an exotic dancer and spiraled into 10 death threats against law enforcement officials and their family and friends in Palm Beach and Broward counties, federal agents say.
When the dancer repaid just $7.50 and had her boyfriend warn the lender, Amin Abbas Eltayeb, to leave her alone, Eltayeb retaliated by mailing intimidating letters to a judge, prosecutor, and sheriff’s deputy in Palm Beach County— and making it look like they came from the boyfriend, federal prosecutors say.
Then Eltayeb got a speeding ticket in Davie, and soon the Davie police chief and the wife and neighbor of the police officer who pulled him over also got death threats in the mail.
On Monday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Eltayeb, 22, of North Miami Beach, pleaded not guilty to charges he mailed all 10 of the threatening letters.
Officials said Eltayeb used the driver’s license number of the dancer’s boyfriend, identified only as SB in court records, on the letters sent to Palm Beach County. He signed “Eye in the Sky” on the letters sent to people in Broward, agents said.
Eltayeb, a makeup artist who sold cosmetics from home, met the dancer, identified only as DP, at a club where she worked and gave her the loan in late 2012, agents said. Eltayeb began “calling and pestering” her for the money and they met on Dec. 16 at a Boynton Beach restaurant, where SB warned Eltayeb to stop bothering them or he “would get hurt,” according to records.
Eltayeb reported the verbal threat to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, providing SB’s name and driver's license number, agents said.
About a month later, Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser, Assistant State Attorney Nadene Reynolds, and Sheriff’s Deputy William Ferrel received letters at work and home threatening to kill them and their family if four traffic citations against SB weren’t dropped. The officials’ names appeared on online court records related to the Nov. 28 traffic stop.
SB denied he sent the letters but told detectives he’d had a recent conflict with Eltayeb. Detectives then questioned Eltayeb, who claimed he didn’t know SB’s license number, though he previously had given it to the Sheriff’s Office, agents wrote.
Then, on Feb. 26, Eltayeb received a speeding ticket from Davie Police Officer Bruce Paquet.
One week later, Davie Police Chief Patrick Lynn received letters at work and home that “threatened to kill Officer Paquet and commit a murder-suicide upon Chief Lynn.”
Paquet’s wife received a letter the same day threatening that she would be killed “within the next couple of days.”
“The letter described extreme acts of violence, including shooting members of Paquet’s family and cutting off body parts. The letter also threatened that explosives might be placed in their house or car and that the attack would occur ‘soon,'” FBI Agent Justin Fleck wrote.
The Paquets’ neighbor received a similar letter, records show.
All 10 letters were mailed in Miami, some of the letters were found during a search of Eltayeb’s computer and home, and the handwriting on some of the letters appeared to match Eltayeb’s handwriting on a police report he filed, Fleck wrote.
Eltayeb said nothing in court Monday. His attorneys Paul Petruzzi and Lawrence Hashish said Eltayeb is a “harmless computer nerd” from a good family and has never been in trouble before.
“… Even if he did make these threats, there was never any intent to carry them out and when agents searched his home, there were never any guns knives or anything that could be considered a weapon,” Petruzzi said. Eltayeb is struggling with some personal and psychiatric issues, Petruzzi said. Court records show a defense psychologist who evaluated Eltayeb found he “presents a low risk of future violence.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt found that Eltayeb could pose a danger to the community and ordered him held without bond pending trial. “Of particular concern are the number of threats, the graphic and explicit nature of the threats, the apparent escalation of the severity and imminent timing of the threats, and the spreading of the threats … to relatives and neighbors,” the judge wrote in an order. If convicted, Eltayeb faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.
Most of the alleged victims could not be reached for comment Monday. Davie police and Judge Hanser declined to comment.