NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Florida man pleaded guilty Friday for crimes connected to Norfolk.

According to court documents, John Muccio, 39, sent several online threats to a debt collection company located in Norfolk. These messages were sent in April and May of 2023.

The company was attempting to contact Muccio about money that he owed, but instead received threatening messages through the company’s artificial intelligence chatbot. The messages included racial slurs, death threats to the employees and threats of sexual assault of the co-founders’ family members, prosecutors say.

The FBI was able to track the messages back to Muccio at his residence in Florida. A review of his phone showed the company’s website bookmarked on his internet browser.

Muccio pleaded guilty to making threatening interstate communications, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 5, 2024 with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes accepted the plea.

Keep up to date with the latest news on