Nearly a year after being indicted for making threatening phone calls to JCCs and other places in the US, the Justice Department on Thursday added new hate crime charges against an 18-year-old Israeli-American hacker.

The hacker in an Israeli court

The hacker in an Israeli court Photo credit: Flash 90

An Israeli-American teenager was indicted in the US on Thursday for making a series of threatening phone calls to JCCs in Florida, as well as other institutions and individuals.

The hacker, 18, has a dual Israeli and American citizenship. He has been charged with hate crimes and may serve up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. These new charges are significantly more serious than those he was indicted for last year.

The teenager is alleged to have made dozens of bomb threats, mainly to Jewish institutions across the US, such as the Anti-Defamation League. He also allegedly called the police in January 2017 about a fake hostage situation in a Georgia home.

Last year, following the teenager’s first indictment, his lawyer said her client’s actions had stemmed from his autism. “His level of sensitivity for social values of morality is severely flawed,” she said then.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has addressed the new charges against the teenager, saying, “These alleged threats of violence instilled fear in the Jewish community and other communities across the country, and it is the Justice Department’s duty to make sure all Americans can live their lives without this type of fear.”