NEWARK, NJ – A 38-year-old man from Pompton Plains in Morris County has admitted to maliciously calling in a bomb threat to a religious institution in Livingston in 2017, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

James Triano pleaded guilty via videoconference before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty on Tuesday to an indictment charging him with maliciously conveying false information about an explosive. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, this count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On March 21, 2017, Livingston police and fire departments responded to Temple Beth Shalom, located at 193 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue, on reports of a bomb threat.

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Police Chief Gary Marshuetz, who was serving as a captain with the Livingston Police Department at the time, said that day that it was disappointing to see “an increase in anti-Semitic behavior” in the area. A few weeks earlier, anti-Semitic graffiti was found at South Mountain Reservation and the local Jewish Community Center (JCC) in West Orange was one of several such facilities in New Jersey to receive similar bomb threats.

According to documents filed in the case against Triano and statements made in court, Triano called a representative of the religious institution on March 21 and indicated that there was a bomb located within the building that would explode in 30 minutes. He conveyed this information about the bomb knowing that it was false.

The bomb threat resulted in a substantial disruption to the religious institution as well as to the public, according to court documents.

Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and officers from the Livingston Police Department, under the direction of Marshuetz, with the investigation leading to Tuesday’s guilty plea. The sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 30, 2020.