- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Charged in an apparent anthrax hoax that could send him to prison for life, a Rockville, Md. man was released on personal recognizance until his preliminary hearing Nov. 20 in U.S. District Court in Beltsville.
Anthony Salvatore Mancuso, 27, faces a life sentence and a $250,000 fine for sprinkling a white powder apparently flour around the office of a fellow employee, arresting documents state.
Mr. Mancuso had to surrender his passport and report to pretrial services until his hearing. He is charged with threatening the use of a biological weapon.
Financial Initial Systems at 111200 Rockville Pike was closed down while officials investigated whether the powder was anthrax.
Mr. Mancuso said he only intended it as a "joke," according to a court affidavit. The incident occurred after anthrax was found in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office.
Similarly charged last week in Stafford, Va., Sharon Ann Watson is also free on personal recognizance until her preliminary hearing Nov. 20.
According to an FBI agent, Miss Watson said her purpose was to force post office managers to take the anthrax threat more seriously and provide testing and treatment of employees at the Falmouth postal branch where she works.
Miss Watson also known as Sharon Ann Collins led investigators to her locker and gave them a can of baby powder, which court documents said she had spread on an opened advertisement envelope from Daytona Beach, Fla. If convicted of unlawfully opening mail and threatening to injure, she could be sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors have said U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has instructed them to severely punish those who commit anthrax hoaxes.


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