Former Northeastern Lab Manager Found Guilty Of Hoax Explosion

Jason Duhaime, a former lab manager at Northeastern University, was convicted by a federal jury for staging a hoax explosion on the Boston campus and lying to federal agents. The 46-year-old, originally from San Antonio, Texas, now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the three counts.

In September 2022, Duhaime called the university police, claiming that a package he had opened in the Immersive Media Lab exploded, injuring his arms. His report led to a significant response from law enforcement, including an evacuation and the deployment of a bomb squad, which resulted in widespread alarm on campus.

However, the FBI soon uncovered that Duhaime’s account was fabricated. FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta stated that Duhaime had lied about the explosion, faked his injuries, and created a threatening letter supposedly found in the package. The letter, which referenced collaborations with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the U.S. government, was found on Duhaime’s computer, having been written hours before his emergency call.

Investigators also found that while Duhaime had superficial injuries on his arms, his shirt sleeves were undamaged, raising doubts about his claims. Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy highlighted the serious repercussions of such hoaxes, noting they cause widespread fear, misallocate law enforcement resources, and have significant financial impacts.

Duhaime’s legal representation changed in January when his two attorneys withdrew from the case. His public defender has not been available for comment. The incident had a profound impact on Northeastern University, which has a large student body of over 40,000.

Duhaime is due to be sentenced on October 2, where he will face the consequences of his actions, which included spreading panic and fear among the university community.

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