A Northeastern University employee who told police last month he was injured by an exploding package fabricated the story and now faces charges in the hoax, according to a criminal complaint.
Jason Duhaime, who was the New Technology Manager and Director of the Immersive Media Lab at Northeastern University, has been charged by complaint with conveying false information and hoaxes related to an explosive device and making materially false fictitious and fraudulent statements to a US Government agency, according to the complaint.
Duhaime allegedly “conveyed false and misleading information related to an explosive device to the 911 operator, and that he made materially false statements to a federal agent about the subject case and the cause of his injuries,” according to the affidavit.
The US Attorney’s office for Massachusetts and Boston Police are expected to hold a news conference shortly.
The arrest stems from an incident on September 13, when a university employee said a hard plastic case exploded in Northeastern’s virtual reality lab. The 45-year-old man who opened the package suffered minor hand injuries, university and law enforcement officials said.
The lab manager, who has worked in Northeastern’s virtual reality lab since at least 2020, told investigators that he found a note with a plastic case addressed to “the lab manager,” sources familiar with the investigation told News84Media.
The one-page note accused the lab of secretly working for Facebook and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg in a US government plot to take over society through virtual reality, the sources said.
The employee told investigators that when he opened the package, it depressurized with the force of an explosion, law enforcement sources said.
But Boston Police and FBI bomb technicians did not find any evidence of explosives nor an initiation system capable of causing an explosion, a source briefed on the investigation told News84Media.