A man in Illinois has pleaded guilty to posing as a doctor in order to purchase the poisonous toxin found in puffer fish for “use as a weapon.”
Edward Bachner was arrested in 2008 and charged with illegally possessing Tetrodotoxin, mostly known as the deadly toxin found in puffer fish. In a superseding indictment in 2009, Bachner was also accused of plotting to murder his wife to collect on a fraudulent $20 million life insurance policy.
Last week, Bachner pleaded guilty to wire fraud, knowingly possessing Tetrodotoxin for use as a weapon, and filing false tax claims.
The wire fraud charge relates to the period between January 2007 and June 2008, when Bachner bought the $20 million life insurance policy on “Individual A,” while misrepresenting the person’s “employment, education and work experience” to the insurance company.
Bachner also pleaded guilty to acquiring Tetrodotoxin in June 2008 from a medical and chemical product distributor, by posing as “Dr. Edmund Backer.” He originally ordered 98 milligrams, which Dr. Frank Paloucek, a toxin expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune is enough to kill 98 people. The supply company didn’t have the full 98 milligrams available at the time, though according to court documents Bachner requested that they send him the rest when they acquired it.
The third charge relates to Bachner’s fraudulent claim to the IRS that he was owed a refund of over $111,000.
Bachner will be sentenced on December 8, where he faces a combined maximum sentence of life in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.