Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), and Kevin P. Bruen, Superintendent of the New York State Police (“NYSP”), announced today the guilty plea of DAVID KAUFMAN, a/k/a “David Khalifa,” a/k/a “John Morray,” a/k/a “Big Man,” to stalking multiple victims between October 2019 and August 2020. KAUFMAN pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román, to whom the case is assigned.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As he admitted in court, David Kaufman is an adherent of the ‘Incels’ who stalked and terrorized two victims, not only harassing them by impersonating them online, but also graphically threatening to murder them. Thanks to the FBI, the NYPD, the State Police, and other law enforcement partners, Kaufman is in custody and awaiting sentencing for his admitted crime.”
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “Kaufman’s overt hatred of women and sickening threats to harm potential victims caught the eye of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York. We know acts of violence among those in the Incel community have increased in recent years. As Kaufman’s guilty plea brings this topic closer to the forefront, we want the public to know the law enforcement community is aware of the threat and working together to confront it.”
NYSP Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said: “I applaud the hard, difficult work done by law enforcement in this case, which has led to this plea and ensures the defendant will be held accountable for his crimes. We have zero tolerance for anyone who creates fear online, terrorizing victims because of their gender. Together, we will continue to seek justice for those who have been victimized and protect those vulnerable to these types of crimes.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “The abhorrent acts carried out by David Kaufman are not just isolated offenses but representative of a larger pattern of criminality that tears at the very fabric of our society. I commend our NYPD detectives, our law enforcement partners, those in the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York for their hard work in ensuring a measure of justice was achieved today.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint and the Indictment, as well as statements made in White Plains federal court:
Background on “Incels”
KAUFMAN self-identifies as a member of the “Incels,” or the “Involuntary Celibate,” which refers to a group of individuals, typically heterosexual, white males, who adhere to a violent and misogynist ideology of male supremacy. Incels believe they are entitled to sex with women and to women’s bodies, and they blame women for refusing to have sex with them. Incels have an active online community and over the last seven years, Incels also have committed acts of violence against women across the world, including in the United States. For example, in 2014, a self-proclaimed Incel named Elliot Rodger declared a “War on Women” and killed six people and injured 14 others near a college campus in California. Prior to these attacks, Rodger posted a video manifesto online, in which he explained that he planned his attack to punish women for rejecting him and for depriving him of sex, and to punish sexually active men because he envied them.
KAUFMAN Harasses and Threatens Victim-1 and Victim-2
Beginning in or about October 2019, KAUFMAN sent two victims (“Victim-1” and “Victim-2”), among others, violent and threatening messages using various social media accounts. In these messages, KAUFMAN self-identified as an Incel and expressed his hatred of women. For example:
- On or about June 24, 2020, KAUFMAN sent the following message to Victim-1: “Hey wanna hear a joke? What’s worse than 10 Stacy’s nailed to one tree? One Stacy nailed to ten trees [laughing crying face emoji].” “Stacy” is an Incel term that refers to an attractive female who rejects or refuses to have sex with an Incel, is hated by Incels, and is targeted by Incels for harassment, vitriol, humiliation, and violence.
- On or about June 29, 2020, KAUFMAN sent a series of messages to Victim-2. These messages included an image of one of Elliot Rodger’s victims, a deceased female who had been stabbed to death, accompanied by the following message: “This is what happened when a woman said ‘no’ to Elliot Rodger . . . . Hopefully [Victim-1] never said no to someone just like Elliot Rodger.”
- In or about July 2020, KAUFMAN posted the following messages: “Don’t piss off BIG MAN” and “When [Victim-1] and I are dead, we’ll be in heaven together forever.”
- On or about July 11, 2020, KAUFMAN sent the following message to Victim-1: “Women have done nothing but spit in my face. Soon I’ll be getting a gun.”
- On or about July 12, 2020, KAUFMAN posted the following messages: “A beautiful environment is the darkest hell, if you have to experience it all alone . . . –Elliot Rodger” and “I don’t think [Victim-1] will be laughing too much later on.”
KAUFMAN also created social media accounts using the first and last names of Victim-1 and Victim-2, respectively, and impersonated Victim-1 and Victim-2 online.
In the summer of 2020, law enforcement officers approached KAUFMAN and told him to stop harassing Victim-1 and Victim-2. On or about July 14, 2020, an order of protection was issued in Westchester County ordering KAUFMAN to, among other things, refrain from communication or any other contact with Victim-1 or Victim-2.
Notwithstanding the order of protection and warnings by law enforcement, KAUFMAN continued to send harassing and threatening messages to Victim-1 and Victim-2 through in or about August 2020. On or about August 16, 2020, KAUFMAN posted a picture of himself licking a photograph of Victim-1. KAUFMAN also conducted online surveillance of Victim-1’s residence and researched how to illegally purchase a gun and assemble a semi-automatic rifle.
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KAUFMAN, 27, of Peekskill, New York, pled guilty to one count of stalking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2261A(2)(a) and 2261(b)(6), which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison and a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The statutory minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. KAUFMAN is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Román on March 16, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the NYPD, as well as the NYSP. Mr. Williams also thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Cortlandt County Police Department, the Stamford Police Department, the Peekskill Police Department, the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance and cooperation.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Kim is in charge of the prosecution.