Southeastern PA

Kenneth W. Smith pleads guilty to airport hoax

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia man has pleaded guilty to calling in a hoax threat of explosives on an aircraft last fall, which authorities said was an effort to get back at the former boyfriend of his then-girlfriend.

Kenneth W. Smith Jr., 26, entered his plea in federal court Monday. Smith was charged with and pleaded guilty to malicious false information about an explosive and false information and hoaxes.

On September 6, 2012, Smith placed a telephone call to the Philadelphia Airport Police reporting that someone had allegedly carried an explosive substance onto an aircraft bound for Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport when Smith knew the statement was false. The report resulted in the flight being turned around and brought back to Philadelphia.

He and defense attorney William Brennan said they would say more at his April 16 sentencing.

Smith admitted he told police that an individual had carried liquid explosives onto the plane and that he targeted that individual in order to "avenge" a female.

Smith told the ABC newsmagazine ``20/20'' last week that he had no intention of having the Dallas-bound US Airways flight turn around and apologized to all of the passengers. Prosecutors say Smith has agreed to reimburse passengers, the airline and emergency personnel.

Sentencing is set for April 16.

Smith faces a maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, special assessments, supervised release, and restitution for the costs associated with the crimes.

He has agreed to write a letter of apology to every passenger on board the flight, to reimburse the costs of emergency response, and to pay restitution to his victims

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