YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The federal government has indicted the city of Warren’s auditor Wednesday, charging that he sent a letter with a suspicious white powder in it to a Boardman business.
Anthony Natale is charged with one count of conveying false information related to the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Natale entered a not guilty plea in federal court Wednesday, and a judge set his bond at $20,000.
According to court documents, on Nov. 12 of 2014, an employee at the American Business Center on South Avenue in Boardman received a letter with a white, powdery substance inside. Believing that the white substance was some sort of toxin, emergency workers evacuated all 11 people inside and sent two to the hospital for further examination.
Tests later determined the substance to be harmless.
According to an affidavit filed in federal court Aug. 10, an FBI agent took a DNA sample from Natale and believed that Natale may have sent the letter with the substance inside after being fired from the American Business Center. He was terminated from American Business Center on Oct. 6, 2014, according to court documents.
The investigation into Natale started long before he took office as the Warren auditor in December of 2015. For now, he will remain in office since he has not been convicted, and the alleged crime happened about a year before he was elected.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin commented on Natale’s charges on Wednesday.
“We obviously have standards for all of our employees. Mr. Natale is an elected official, so you know, therefore he doesn’t work for the City of Warren; he works for the citizens of Warren and that’s very important to note, but we’ll get through this,” he said.