UnSplash / Bill Oxford
There was no truth to the San Antonio man's online claims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A federal jury on Monday found a San Antonio man guilty of staging a social media hoax in which he claimed he'd paid a person with COVID-19 to lick food in local supermarkets.
Jurors convicted Christopher Charles Perez, 40, on two counts of spreading hoaxes and false information after making a pair of threatening posts on Facebook, according to authorities. Those posts were made in April 2020 under the alias Christopher Robbins.
Court records identified the stores as San Antonio H-E-B locations, the Express-News reports
. However, there was no truth to Perez's online claims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Antonio.
“Our community feels safer when we are free from this type of hoax threat," U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said. "When Perez posted his threats on-line [sic], his hoax posed a very real risk of spreading panic throughout our community at a time when the public was already facing the difficult challenges of a global pandemic."
Perez was arrested in April 2020 by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after a screenshot of one of his posts was forwarded to law enforcement officials.
He now faces up to five years in federal prison for each count. The trial's sentencing phase will take place in September.
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