The mayor of a New Jersey town has been arrested by federal authorities for allegedly hacking into a website and e-mail account tied to a recall group against him.
Felix Roque, mayor of West New York in Hudson County, and his son, Joseph Roque, were taken into custody early Thursday, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.
A federal complaint charges Felix Roque, 55, and Joseph Roque, 22, with gaining unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of causing damage to protected computers, causing damage to protected computers and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes.
According to the complaint, a Hudson County resident and public official anonymously created a website called www.recallroque.com in February to post commentary and criticism of Roque and his administration. On Feb. 6, Roque and his son allegedly schemed to hack into and take down the site, and to identify the people associated with it.
Joseph Roque hacked into e-mail accounts used to manage the site two days later and managed to disable it, according to the complaint. Felix Roque then allegedly attempted to intimidate several individuals he learned were associated with the recall website, the complaint charges.
Information on the Roques' attorneys wasn't immediately available.
The conspiracy charge and the charge of gaining unauthorized access to a computer are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. The charge of causing damage to protected computers carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Felix Roque won an upset election as a reform candidate in the small, but crowded city overlooking Manhattan last year.
Since then, Gov. Chris Christie has embraced him politically as Christie battles with Democrats who have traditionally controlled the politics of Hudson County.
The defendants are due to appear in federal court at 1 p.m.
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