When a political rival sets up a website demanding your recall as mayor, what do you do? Well, if you're Felix Roque, the 55-year-old mayor of West New York, New Jersey, you have your son Joseph hack the recall site and then threaten the creator. That, at least, is what U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman is alleging today following the arrest of both the mayor and his son.
In February of 2012, one of Roque's fellow Hudson County government officials registered and began running recallroque.com, a site calling for the ousting of Roque via recall election. Shortly after, it is alleged that the mayor's son attempted to learn the identity of the site's owner by emailing an address listed on the site, offering to meet up to offer some "very good leads." When that didn't work, Joseph Roque allegedly conducted Google searches for "hacking a Go Daddy site," "recallroque log-in," and "html hacking tutorial." Joseph Roque was able to gain control of the account, and on February 8, he cancelled the domain name, effectively killing the site.
The next day, Mayor Roque used his cell phone to call the original owner of the site. Roque claimed to have knowledge that the government official was responsible for the site, and according to the complaint, stated that he had "a friend in high level of government who had shut the Recall Website down." The mayor also threatened that "everyone would pay for getting involved against him."
Both Joseph and Felix Roque are being charged with "unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of causing damage to protected computers; causing damage to protected computers; and conspiracy to commit those crimes." You can read the about the full extent of the alleged crimes at the United States Attorney's Office website. The Roques face up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000 for their crimes.
Roque became mayor of West New York in May 2011 after previous mayor Sal Vega was ousted in a recall election. Roque has had a very frosty relationship with his fellow Hudson Democrats, many of whom supported Vega during the recall.
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