A Seaford man has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for terrorizing his ex-girlfriend by posting her phone number on a prostitution website, mailing drugs to her upstate college, and shooting up a window of her family home with a BB gun.
Thomas Traficante, 23, pleaded guilty in March to cyberstalking and distribution of a controlled substance, with nonbinding sentencing guidelines recommending a prison term of 30 months to 37 months.
U.S. District Court Judge David Larimer on Wednesday handed down a harsher punishment of 48 months, arguing Traficante psychologically terrorized the victim and the campus of SUNY Geneseo, with threats that would result in “as much destruction as possible,” federal prosecutors said.
Traficante’s attorney, Ray Perini, of Islandia, said he would appeal Larimer’s sentence. Perini had asked Larimer to sentence Traficante, who had no previous criminal history, to a term of six months to 1 year in prison followed by home confinement with an electronic ankle monitor.
Traficante, who has been in prison for the past six months, has been on medication to treat depression, obsessive jealousy and social anxiety disorder, Perini said.
“A lengthy prison sentence does not satisfy the ends of justice and won’t protect society or the offender,” Perini said Thursday in a telephone interview.
Traficante met the woman, a student at Geneseo, in May 2017 through an online dating site, according to a federal criminal complaint. The woman, who was not identified by prosecutors, ended the relationship Oct. 26.
Between October and December, Traficante, a graduate accounting student at St. John’s University in Queens, sent text messages harassing the woman, her sorority sisters and classmates, authorities said.
The messages said “it’s not safe out there tonight” and “there are various people among different orgs who have hurt me. My plan is to hurt them,” and “the only thing that helps is revenge,” prosecutors said. Traficante also used a device to disguise his voice, leaving a message for the woman’s housemates claiming that “I’m in the house.”
The victim changed her phone number but Traficante found her new contact information, sending a text message stating, you’re “all crazy if you think I’m not still out there,” prosecutors said.
On three occasions, Traficante anonymously sent cocaine and methamphetamines to the victim’s college mailbox, then tipped off university police to the package.
He also posed as the victim, creating a fake prostitution ad on Backpage.com, prompting her to receive calls from more than 60 men seeking sexual encounters, authorities said.
The cyberstalking also included hacking into the victim’s email, cellphone, social media and college account, where he would submit chemistry quizzes with no answers provided, ensuring a score of zero, prosecutors said. He also hacked the woman’s Amazon account, purchasing and mailing her a book about stalking titled “I’m Watching You.”
Last November, authorities said Traficante used a BB gun to shoot out a window of the victim’s parents’ home and a vehicle parked outside the house.
A loaded AR-15 assault rifle was recovered when Traficante was arrested at his mother’s home in December, prosecutors said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola told the Rochester court Wednesday there is no way to determine whether Traficante would have shot up the upstate campus but that his verbal threats and escalating behavior were extremely concerning.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York James Kennedy Jr. credited SUNY Geneseo police for tracking down the source of the text messages.
“Their efforts very well may have prevented an unspeakable act of violence from occurring, resulting in tragedy and heartbreak,” Kennedy said.
Traficante harassed another woman from 2014 to 2015, but he was not charged in that case, authorities said.