The package explosion at Northeastern University was a case of employee fraud, the complaint alleges




CNN

A Northeastern University employee made up the story that she told police last month she was injured by an exploding package and now faces charges of fraud, according to a criminal complaint.

Jason Duhaime, former New Technology Manager and Director of the Immersive Media Lab at Northeastern University, has been charged with communicating false information and deception related to an explosive device and making false and fictitious material statements to a US Government agency. to the complaint

“During the course of our investigation, we believe he repeatedly lied to us about what happened at the lab, faked his injuries and wrote a letter addressed to the lab threatening further violence,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta. tuesday

Duhaime was arrested Tuesday morning in Texas and will appear before a magistrate judge this afternoon, U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said.

CNN has reached out to his defense attorney for comment.

A report of an explosion on Sept. 13 prompted the evacuation of the northeast Boston campus, diverting law enforcement resources and causing panic, Rollins said Tuesday.

“The alleged actions diverted significant law enforcement resources from critical matters of public safety and caused fear and panic not only on campus, but in the homes of families, friends and loved ones of Northeastern students, faculty and staff, as well as people who live and work near Northeastern’s campus. do it,” he said.

According to the complaint, Duhaim, 45, called 911 to report that he had been injured by extremely sharp objects that had been collected in the mailroom and ejected from a plastic box opened in the Northeastern virtual reality lab. Authorities at the time said he had minor injuries to his hands.

He also told investigators he found a threatening note with the case accusing the lab of working undercover for Facebook and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg in a US government plan to take over society through virtual reality, according to the complaint.

However, investigators found the case and letter unharmed, and found a document on Duhaime’s computer that was “word for word” identical to the threatening letter, the complaint states.

Authorities also said that when Duhaime showed the responding officer “several small superficial marks or bruises” on his forearms, he rolled up his apparently harmless long sleeves.

Additionally, a student who was in the lab during the alleged explosion told investigators he heard no noise other than Duhaime’s voice, the complaint states.

“Given the absence of any physical evidence and the fact that the Letter was found on a computer in Duhaime’s office, the significant discrepancies between Duhaime’s story and Student 1’s recollection of the events support the claim that Duhaime is not being truthful,” the affidavit states. .

Northeastern University released a statement Tuesday saying Duhaime is no longer employed by the university.

“Northern would like to thank the professionals of the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office and the Boston Police Department for completing this investigation,” the university said. “Knowing what we now know about this incident, we would like to make it clear that there was never any danger to the North East community. As always, the safety of our students, teachers and staff is our highest priority.”

An online biography of Duhaime on Northeastern’s website says he is a “new technology manager” who managed Virtual/Augmented Reality and 360-immersion technology for the university.