(Bloomberg) -- A fired employee of Royal Bank of Canada was charged with cyberstalking and making death threats against at least four female ex-colleagues.
Gawargyous “George” Shind, 31, of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested Wednesday and accused of sending text messages via prepaid burner phones in which he threatened to kill the women and their families, federal prosecutors said.
“Don’t ever forget I know where u sleep,” Shind allegedly wrote in a message to one of the women. “I know what train line u take, and I know where u work.” He told the woman that he was a “predator” and she was his “prey,” according to the criminal complaint.
Shind pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday via videoconference before US Magistrate Judge Andre Espinosa in Newark and was ordered held without bail. He faces as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
RBC, which has a Jersey City office, wasn’t identified in the criminal complaint, but Shind said during the Wednesday afternoon hearing that the charges stem from his time there. Gillian McArdle, a spokesperson for the bank, said it would be inappropriate to comment at this time as the matter is before the court.
‘Nothing Short of Terrifying’
Jonathan Marshall, Shind’s lawyer, said there isn’t any direct proof that his client, who he said has an MBA from New York University, sent the threatening text messages.
“It’s all circumstantial with these burner phones and identifying my client as the person,” said Marshall, who argued that Shind should be granted bail because he has no history of violence.
Federal prosecutor Barry O’Connell said Shind was a clear threat to public safety.
“The messages themselves are nothing short of terrifying,” O’Connell said. “They speak for themselves.”
According to the government, Shind started issuing the threats about a year after he was fired for violating the bank’s code of conduct in May 2019. He allegedly held the four women responsible for his termination, and some of messages cited in the complaint accuse the recipients of framing him or throwing him “under the bus.”
O’Connell said Wednesday that there was reason to believe that Shind was fired from the bank due to a possible “sexual assault on one of the victims.”
Shind told one woman he would find her walking alone and beat her with belt buckle until she was a “bloody mess,” according to the criminal complaint.
“I’m never letting this go,” he allegedly warned.
Shind argued that he presents “zero danger” to the community and that had been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the matter.
“I have not backed down, I have not resisted, I have not attempted to flee,” he said.
According to the criminal complaint, Shind was initially arrested in June 2020 for threatening one of the victims and was admitted to a pretrial intervention program, but continued to threaten other women at the bank. On Thursday, Shind claimed he himself had been the recipient of threatening messages and said he has filed complaints about prosecutorial misconduct.
Marshall downplayed the text messages cited by the prosecutors. “These threats are in most cases from years ago and there’s no allegation that anyone acted on these threats,” the lawyer said. “There’s no evidence anyone ever acted on these threats.
The case is US v Shind, 22-mj-11228, US District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark.)
(Updates with RBC comment.)
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