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Ex-University of La Verne student charged with faking series of threats

A 25-year-old woman was charged Tuesday with making criminal threats at the University of La Verne during a scheme to portray herself as a victim, officials said. Anayeli Dominguez Peña of Ontario faces one felony count each of criminal threats and perjury by declaration, as well as one misdemeanor count of internet/electronic impersonation and six […]

A 25-year-old woman was charged Tuesday with making criminal threats at the University of La Verne during a scheme to portray herself as a victim, officials said.

Anayeli Dominguez Peña of Ontario faces one felony count each of criminal threats and perjury by declaration, as well as one misdemeanor count of internet/electronic impersonation and six misdemeanor counts of false reports of a criminal offense, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Dominguez Peña pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday, after being arrested Monday.

She is accused of creating fake messages and email accounts and then using them to allege a threat against herself and a student who was not aware that the threats were fake, according to the prosecutor.

The series of threats, which were made via text message and email, were first reported on Feb. 28, 2019, and appeared to target a student organization in which Dominguez Peña held a leadership role, officials said. The alleged threats also targeted Dominguez Peña herself, members of the group and the university.

Dominguez Peña allegedly reported the false threats to police and applied for victim compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board, according to the criminal complaint.

The threats escalated to a point where the university cancelled classes for a day, according to the La Verne Police Department, which is investigating the case.

Fellow students rallied to the defense of those targeted in the alleged threats before an investigation found that Dominguez Peña was herself the source of the threats, police said.

Dominguez Peña is scheduled to return to court on April 14. Her bail is set at $136,000 and she faces a possible sentence of eight years in state prison.