Federal prosecutors allege that an Oregon mushroom grower told the CEO of online exchange Robinhood that he was skinning his children while watching, in order to pay back his investment loss. This man claims to have suffered.
Christopher David Michalski, 38, was charged with interstate communications of threats, a felony, for posting multiple tweets over the course of the past year vowing “physical violence and murder” against employees and top Robinhood employees, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday and first obtained by The Daily Beast.
In one example cited in the profile, Michalski tagged @AskRobinhood on Twitter and wrote, “I dream of a world where your body is strung up from lamp posts. I really want nothing more than to make you beg for your life for what you did to me. You’re all very wretched, and you’re all going to be damned. ”
Michalski is also accused of posting pictures of him using an assault weapon at a shooting range, and asking: “Where did you get the money you stole from me, you son of a bitch?”
Last month, Robinhood’s director of threat assessment and risk intelligence reached out to the FBI, “concerned about the continuing and escalating nature of violent threats against the company and its employees.” company and the possibility of a violent melee on the spot,” the complaint states. Michalski, who ran a business in Salem, Oregon that sold gourmet mushrooms, was arrested May 5, court records said. He has not yet had an attorney listed in court records, and a voicemail message The Daily Beast left at a listed number for Michalski’s company has not been returned. Contacted by phone, Michalski’s wife confirmed her husband’s arrest but declined to comment further.
Robinhood, an online discount brokerage and stock trading app, has spawned what is known as an “investment meme,” with young, tech-savvy investors, causing wild volatility in the stock market. stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment by planning large coordinated trades on sites like Reddit. Some make good fortune. Others have lost them. Robinhood, the one-time darling of Wall Street, which went public in August 2021, has recently been hit with a financial shock of its own, with the stock down about 70% since its IPO. Users are down 10% and the company is in the process of cutting 9% of its 3,800 strong workforce.
It is not uncommon for people to express their disappointment on social media. But in the eyes of the federal government, making mass murder threats on social media isn’t necessarily just trolling. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Scott Merryman, a former US Army paratrooper, was arrested in January after posting threats on Facebook that he planned to assassinate President Biden. The posts were so disturbing that the Secret Service sent agents to intercept Merryman in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown, Maryland, less than two hours from the White House. There, Merryman – who carried a loaded .45 magazine and a scope in his backpack – allegedly told agents he was “coming for Joe’s sleepy ass.”
In Michalski’s case, an FBI affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint says he first began targeting Robinhood on May 9, 2021.
The first tweet, posted anonymously under the handle “@goldshroomsand1” and included in the affidavit, was relatively low-key.
“If anyone is interested, Robinhood’s headquarters is in Menlo Park, CA,” it read. “85 Willow Road. They are close to Timothy Hopkins Park and the Willow Park Campus. I worry people will personally go there to politely vent their grievances.”
The account was then silent on the topic until February 28, 2022, when @goldshroomsand1 responded to a tweet by @AskRobinhood, saying, “I was just wondering how many financial terrorists I need to collect died to redeem the thousands of dollars you stole from me.”
That same month, the affidavit said @goldshroomsand1 posted several other tweets in the same line. One said, “Robinhood lied to the Wall. Robinhood had a great fall. All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, must never pull my rifle out of their ass. “
Another read, “Can’t enjoy the 10s out of the 1000s you stole from me if you all damn it.”
On March 1, 2022, @goldshroomsand1 tweeted a photo of a rifle with a scope, again tagged Robinhood, along with the caption, “Q: How many financial terrorists will die let me get back the money you stole from me? A: All of them. They all must die.”
Then another tweet, posted about 45 minutes earlier, read “1099 = the number of corpses I will leave behind when I wake up if you don’t give me back the money you stole.”
Throughout March, @goldshroomsand1 kept it up, making sure Robinhood was tagged in every violent tweet, according to the affidavit.
“Imagine your whole family getting killed just because you wanted to work for Robinhood,” one person said.
On March 25, 2022, @goldshroomsand1 brought his grievances to the fore, tagging Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev in a tweet, writing, “I’ll make you beg me not to skin the skins your child in front of you.”
The next day, @goldshroomsand1 tweeted, “The saddest part of your candlelit ceremony? There won’t be any friends and family left alive to cancel at the last minute. ”
Last month, @goldshroomsand1 tagged Tenev and Robinhood in a tweet accompanying ABC News’ report of a mass shooting in San Jose, California.
“The police can’t save you,” it said.
The Robinhood security team contacted the FBI, which unearthed more tweets by @goldshroomsand1 which contained photos that appeared to have been taken at a shooting range. In one, a man can be seen aiming a rifle, with the words, “The government has been very clear to us that forgiveness is not something they endorse, at least when it comes to to #studentloans. Little secret: there is no forgiveness in my heart either. ”
FBI agents subpoenaed Twitter for user data associated with the @goldshroomsand1 account, matching the IP address the account was created with with data provided by Robinhood, which identified Michalski as a Robinhood customer only with that IP address, according to the affidavit.
FBI agents also traced the shooting range seen in photos @goldshroomsand1 tweeted, spotting the facility’s name on the medians.
“I have spoken to the owner and employees at Tritac, who confirm the images posted by Twitter user @goldshroomsand1 are in the domain of Tritac,” Special Agent Peter A. Jackson wrote in the affidavit. “Additionally, they confirm Michalski is a customer at Tritac who used their scope in the days surrounding the time the images were posted by @goldshroomsand1. Twitter posts by @goldshroomsand1 indicate the user is white male based on posted pictures and messages. Michalski’s profile includes the name of a woman identified as his spouse”.
If convicted, Michalski faces five years in federal prison. A spokesperson for Robinhood did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/irate-mushroom-grower-christopher-david-michalski-threatened-to-skin-robinhood-ceo-vlad-tenevs-kids-feds-say?source=articles&via=rss Hate mushroom grower Christopher David Michalski threatened Skin Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev’s Kids, Feds Say