Former Congressional Candidate Admits To Making Bomb Threats

Eric Hafner (File Photo)

  MONMOUTH COUNTY – A formerly local man who ran for office a few times admitted in court to threatening judges, elected officials, police officers and others with bombs.

  Eric G. Hafner, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort, one count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce, and one count of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device.

  The federal government referred to him as a former Monmouth County resident. In 2018 he was listed as living in Toms River, while in hiding and simultaneously running for Congress in Oregon. The NJ Globe said he lost a 2016 primary race in Hawaii as well. According to The Asbury Park Press, his mother, Carol Hafner, used the same Toms River address as him when she ran for a position in Alaska. She then sought a seat in Wyoming. The Hafners were never successful in their campaigns.

  Police said that between July of 2016 and May of 2018, while living outside of the U.S., he sent threats to elected officials, judges, police officers, attorneys, and their families. Many were in and around Monmouth County. For some of these victims, he sought to extort $350,000. He also sent false bomb threats to an elected official’s office, a county courthouse, a police department, two law firms, and a commercial establishment.

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  The count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to extort carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of making threatening communications in interstate or foreign commerce carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

  Hafner’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2022.

  U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger, with the investigation. He also thanked detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; officers of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; the Bradley Beach Police Department; Fairhaven Police Department; Aberdeen Police Department; the Hazlet Police Department; Shrewsbury Police Department; the Red Bank Police Department; the Freehold Township Police Department; the Middletown Police Department; the Neptune Township Police Department; the Oceanport Police Department; the Deal Police Department; and the Manasquan Police Department for their assistance.