A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after federal agents say he fabricated a story that his wife's son was planning to bomb the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
H. Laurence Reinhard, of Huntington Valley in Montgomery County, called an FBI tipline in mid-January and told authorities he overheard the son, a Russian national who was only named by officials as A.A., talking to others about bombing the Games, a federal affidavit stated.
The 69-year-old allegedly told the FBI he heard his “crazy” son talk “about bombs,” “blowing up an American business or embassy” and “f—king up these Sochi Olympics,” according to an agent’s sworn statement.
“Reinhard claimed that ‘he’s going to kill somebody or a lot of people.’ Reinhard said he also ‘heard him talking to people on the phone about explosives,’” the agent wrote in the affidavit
The man, who also allegedly told authorities that he worked in law enforcement for years and was at one time the deputy mayor of New York City, also believed A.A. broke into a safe inside his home and stole jewelry.
The FBI mobilized agents in Philadelphia, Newark, New York and Moscow to investigate the claim. However, the story began to unravel in later interviews with Reinhard.
The man swore by his statements, but denied mentioning terrorism or bombs during his tip call, the affidavit said.
Reinhard later admitted to agents he “exaggerated” his claims to more easily find his wife's son, who he believed was responsible for the theft inside his home, officials said.
After playing a recording of his tip call, Reinhard then contradicted the initial call saying the statements about blowing up embassies and the Olympic games were false, according to court papers.
Reinhard has been charged with two counts of making false statements. His first appearance before a federal judge was scheduled for Thursday.