DENVER – A Brooklyn man is accused of threatening at least seven employees at a Denver-based company with “a Las Vegas repeat” after the company suspended his account over fraudulent use.
FBI agents arrested Victor Casillas Tuesday night in Manhattan, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York. Casillas is set to make his first federal court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Brooklyn Federal Court, Marzulli said.
According to a criminal complaint for Casillas filed Oct. 6 and unsealed Wednesday, Casillas extorted a Denver-based mobile app company, referred to in the complaint as “The Victim Company,” and threatened to kill several employees via threats made by email.
Denver7 has confirmed via a source that the company is Ibotta, a popular startup that allows its users to get cashback rebates on various products and at certain stores after completing certain small tasks on the app.
According to the complaint, Casillas had started using the “referral bonus” system Ibotta allows to create new accounts for himself and game the system to get extra cash back by using various email addresses and user names.
The company discovered Casillas had made 15 accounts in 2016 and 2017, according to the complaint, “and concluded that they represented a potentially fraudulent effort to generate referral bonuses.”
Early this year, according to the complaint, Ibotta tried to give Casillas a $40 payment to resolve claims he’d made to some of Ibotta’s partnership companies that he was owed $100. But he allegedly continued making new accounts in what Ibotta found to be “a potentially fraudulent attempt to generate referral bonuses.”
So on Sept. 26, Ibotta informed Casillas once again it was suspending his account. Casillas started to close some of the accounts, and also began to threaten to kill Ibotta’s employees, according to the complaint.
That day, he sent a message to the company: “I wanna know who your spouse and children are too and I’m not asking you I’m telling you, I want to know who your parents are as well if the pieces of trash are even still alive (for now) for that matter, [sic]”
The next day, according to the complaint, Casillas sent two more, one of which included a photo of two MAC-11 machine guns. “I hope you clearly understand if the law don’t get you…..I will!!!!” Casillas allegedly wrote (in all caps). “You will give my godam [sic] funds you sons of b----es…you ain’t hearing me?? You don’t feel my pain? So be it…See you all soon [sic]”
The message had a photo of two submachine guns attached to it, though the DOJ noted they could be taken from any “open source” photo website.
Yet later that day, Casillas sent another threat: “This is not a joke…yo9u guya are not getting away with this, I will be purchasing my airline tickets within the next half hour [sic]”
And allegedly a third: “Keep up the stall, it’ll be the last time you ever do,” Casillas wrote – a message that was accompanied by another photo of a machine gun.
The next day, Sept. 28, he allegedly sent another message: “I am here in Colorado…I am ready equipped and ready to strike…Hope you value the lives of your (crooked) employees.”
And later that afternoon, Casillas allegedly sent another threat: “Top targets for sniper…Names of first row of serial deaths by [assassination].”
That email listed seven Ibotta employees’ names, and instructed them to “tell loved ones to start picking out a nice beautiful casket and plan a decent funeral.”
Four of the seven employees’ photographs were also included in the message, and one photos had the word “decapitation” attached to it, according to the complaint.
The messages didn’t stop there.
On Oct. 1, Ibotta allegedly received another email from another address Casillas had apparently created to threaten the company: “I just can’t wait [until] reality hits and you (the current reader) or co-workers are laying in their casket all for a petty $100…See you guys soon!”
And on Oct. 4, three days after a gunman killed nearly 60 people and injured hundreds at the Mandalay Bay casino resort in Las Vegas, Casillas sent another threat to Ibotta, according to the complaint.
This one referenced the Vegas massacre. “Get ready for a Las Vegas repeat,” Casillas allegedly wrote to the company. “Well get ready [for] Las Vegas part 2…maybe today you will meet [your] maker.”
Ibotta traced the IP address the message came from, and discovered it was sent from Brooklyn.
The FBI agent who wrote the complaint said that based on information obtained from Ibotta, the company had also received several similar messages from accounts likely belonging to Casillas.
The agent found Casillas’ New York identification in the state database, and matched photos from his Ibotta accounts to photos found on various Facebook pages associated with the same email addresses.
Tracing one of the associated phone numbers also led officials back to Casillas, who was living in Brooklyn.
Federal charges in the case are still pending Casillas’ Wednesday court appearance.
Ibotta sent Denver7 the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“At Ibotta, the safety and security of our employees, partners, and vendors is our highest priority. Due to the sensitive nature of this situation, we have no additional comments at this time.”