Felix Roque, the mayor of West New York, New Jersey was arrested along with his 22 year-old son Joseph on Thursday for allegedly conspiring to hack into and disable a website advocating his recall. The now-unsealed criminal complaint alleges that after spending an afternoon scouring the web with queries like "hacking a Go Daddy site" and "recallroque log-in," Joseph managed to get access first to the victim’s email password and later her web hosting account with not much more than an email to customer service.
"Remember that I am in the Army with many friends."
In order to protect her anonymity, the moderator of the recall website used the fictitious name "Maria Pascuale." The complaint alleges that after Joseph got access to phone numbers and emails belonging to contributors to the site, the elder Roque left a voicemail message on one user's phone saying that "Maria Pascuale sent her regards," and continued to harass her and others, saying he had a friend in high levels of government who shut the site down, and that everyone would pay for getting involved against him. The mayor also allegedly threatened the aforementioned contributor in a Spanish email reply, saying "I have copies of everything sent to the website and communications with names. Remember that I am in the Army with many friends."
The father and son team are potentially facing up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000 for both the conspiracy and hacking charges, and up to another year and an additional $250,000 for "causing damage to protected computers." The mayor denied any wrongdoing, but nevertheless stated to law enforcement that he and his son should go to jail if they had done anything wrong. In a perfect twist of irony, Roque actually came into power by leading a recall against the previous mayor, Sal Vega.