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Feds: Rutherford man in kidnap hoax contacted witness

SPECIAL REPORT: A Rutherford man accused of making a false kidnapping report to a U.S. Embassy of a woman whose Facebook profile he created violated the terms of his bail by going into the store of a boy who was victimized in the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

A hearing in U.S. District Court in Newark this afternoon was postponed until later this month as Fishman’s prosecutors seek to have a federal judge revoke the $50,000 bail of Andriy Mykhaylivskyy.

Mykhaylivskyy — a Ukrainian immigrant who called himself “Andriy Haddad” — was 18 years old when he was arrested in August by agents from the U.S. Department of State.

They said Mykhaylivskyy earlier admitted staging a “catfishing” scam in which he created a fake online high school girl to establish a relationship with a New Jersey teen and then used him to help falsely report her kidnapping, prompting a massive search in Bulgaria.

The Aug. 27 night of his arrest, Mykhaylivskyy twice called the teen from the Essex County Jail to discuss the case, despite being ordered by a judge earlier that day not to have any contact with him, Fishman said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Newark and obtained by CLIFFVIEW PILOT today.

As a result, the judge ordered that he remain in custody until a competency hearing could be held, Fishman wrote.

Mykhaylivskyy was released on bail following the Nov. 19 hearing, “with a third party custodian and conditions which again included that Mykhaylivskyy not tamper with or retaliate against any witness,” the U.S. Attorney added.

On Dec. 13, Fishman wrote, Mykhaylivskyy “entered a retail store in a mall where [the witness] is employed,” then “made eye contact” and walked to the back of the store.

The witness went to the stockroom and stayed there until he was gone, the court petition says.

For his part, it says, Mykhaylivskyy said he “had been in the Mall with a friend, walked past the Retail Store, made eye contact with [the witness] and kept walking through the Mall.”

As a result, Fishman said, he wants his bail revoked.

Today’s scheduled hearing was moved to Jan. 23 after a public defender representing Mykhaylivskyy said a witness they need to call wasn’t available.

Fishman didn’t oppose: His team on the case has store surveillance video that is being processed by the State Department that the judge and defense attorneys wants to see.

Although investigators didn’t suggest a possible motive in the alleged hoax, they noted that Mykhaylivksy claimed the purported kidnappers wanted a $50,000 ransom payment.

Mykhaylivskyy created “Kate Brianna Fulton” using a photograph of another young woman, then brought her to virtual life through Facebook, Twitter, texting, Skype and “other electronic means,”a complaint filed by the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service says.

It says he then “communicated with and maintained an electronic relationship” with the then-18-year-old New Jersey man beginning in 2012….

FOR THE COMPLETE STORY: Federal agents arrest Rutherford man in Bulgarian kidnap hoax

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