A Los Angeles County man was handed an eight-month federal prison term Friday for threatening to bomb Small Business Administration offices and assault employees in response to his inability to obtain COVID-19 emergency business loans.
Christopher Antoun, 30, pleaded guilty in March to a single federal count of making threats by interstate communication, a felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Antoun — who owned Federal Student Loan Consulting, a company he ran out of his home in Lakewood — attempted to obtain a COVID-19 Emergency Injury Disaster Loan two years ago, court papers show.
The loans provide borrower-friendly capital to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
On May 3, 2020, after he failed to receive approval for the emergency loan or an advance from the SBA, Antoun sent a message to an SBA-monitored email account and wrote, in part, “IT GOES INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT TONIGHT OR I START BOMBING EVERY LOCATION OWNED BY THE SBA,” according to his plea agreement filed in Los Angeles.
An SBA loan officer in Texas received the email and contacted law enforcement.
Prosecutors said that when law enforcement interviewed Antoun at his home, he said he was high on marijuana and drunk on alcohol when he sent the threatening email and had no intention of carrying out the threat.
Antoun was then given a warning.
But during the summer and fall of 2021, Antoun again attempted to obtain SBA-backed loans and loan advances. Following difficulty in obtaining the funds, Antoun sent a threatening email to several SBA employees.
In that email, Antoun threatened to walk into the SBA’s Los Angeles district office “with my nice shiny bat” and “start beating the skulls of SBA staff in,” court papers show.