TRENTON, N.J. — Donald Ray Bilby made it easy for authorities to find him after he sent letters to the FBI and banks threatening to bomb their buildings and send anthrax-laced letters. Bilby, who was serving time at the Somerset County Jail for auto theft, signed his real name and included his inmate number.
"Just when you think you'd seen it all, a case like Mr. Bilby's comes along," U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said Tuesday after Bilby pleaded guilty in Trenton to a federal charge of false information. "I think it's fair to say we were not dealing with a great criminal mind here."
Bilby, 30, admitted that he sent five letters, each demanding $20,000 be deposited in his inmate account. He told federal agents he needed the money for bail, prosecutors said.
The count carries up to five years in prison, but sentencing guidelines suggest a term of 18 to 24 months.
The letters were sent to the FBI office in Franklin Township, the Secret Service office in Morristown, to the Somerville Post Office, to a Commerce Bank branch in Somerville, and to a Valley National Bank branch in North Plainfield, prosecutors said.
An April 6 letter to the FBI contained a piece of paper labeled "anthrax" and a white powdery substance. It tested negative for anything dangerous, and Bilby admitted today that he knew the powder was not anthrax, prosecutors said.
Bilby, who lived in Bound Brook, is now serving his state term at Southwoods State Prison in Bridgeton.