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Pharma Exec Indicted for Excruciatingly Detailed Death Threats Against Health Insurer

In World
June 04, 2024

Most Americans loathe their health insurance providers.

A majority say they have severe concerns about financial hardship due to medical bills—even with insurance coverage—thanks to denied claims, unexpected charges, and a refusal to pay for out-of-network doctor visits. And, according to one poll, nearly half of insured adults say they were unable to solve their issues, with a percentage simply going without necessary care as a result.

In April, Baltimore-area pharmaceutical exec and Crohn’s sufferer Justin Dynlacht spoke to The New York Times about his frustration with Aetna and its paltry reimbursements for out-of-network doctor visits, even after paying extra for a plan that supposedly covered them.

“I’m being ripped off,” Dynlacht told the Times. “It’s not right.”

Dynlacht was just one of many people feeling aggrieved over Aetna’s alleged nickel-and-diming, which the Times blamed partially on a cost consulting firm the insurer uses. However, over the course of roughly two years, Dynlacht allegedly took his feelings to a significantly darker place than the law generally tolerates.

The 54-year-old former AstraZeneca employee is now facing federal charges for cyberstalking former Aetna President Daniel Finke; Finke’s replacement, Brian Kane; CEO Karen Lynch of Aetna parent company CVS Health; and numerous Aetna administrators who had denied his claims and follow-up appeals, according to a previously unreported criminal complaint filed earlier this month and obtained by The Daily Beast.

Some of Dynlacht’s communications were simply wishful thinking, according to the complaint.

“I hope that the mechanics that work on the Aetna and CVS Health Corporate Jets deliberately tamper with the jets so that they crash one day soon and the three of you fucking greedy corrupt dishonest pieces of human excrement are all killed in a fiery plane crash,” he wrote in an anonymous April 11 email, just four days after the Times article was published, according to the complaint. “May you and your families suffer dearly for what you have done to people.”

But other missives sent over the course of the past year went beyond hoping for his nemeses’ gruesome deaths, according to the FBI. In emails, faxes, and handwritten letters, Dynlacht allegedly laid out, in excruciating detail, a flurry of violent threats to, variously, gun down Aetna employees in the company parking lot, stage home invasion robberies and have the intruders drill holes in the Aetna executives’ heads, place explosives in the Aetna executives’ bodily orifices, smash in their skulls “like a pinata,” slice off their genitalia, defecate on them, murder their children, rape them with lead pipes, and dismember them with “machetes or guillotine-like devices,” after which their body parts would be “scattered throughout the Aetna campses in OH, FL, and CT to send a message to your senior management that Aetna is not above the fucking law and you fucking human scum must pay with your lives for all of the pain and suffering and crimes you… have committed on behalf of Aetna.”

On Monday, Dynlacht’s court-appointed attorney Conor Wilson told The Daily Beast, “As you are aware Mr. Dynlacht has experienced a number of severe health setbacks in recent years which have caused him anguish. We are reviewing the government’s allegations against him and focusing on a plan to secure his release from custody so that he can receive the medical treatment he needs. At this juncture we are unable to comment on the matter.”

“We do not comment on litigation,” AstraZeneca spokesman Brendan McEvoy said.

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Dynlacht’s anti-Aetna crusade began with a letter to Finke mailed on Nov. 13, 2022, according to an FBI affidavit attached to the complaint. In it, he referred to his doctors as “fucking quacks,” and told Finke he wished he “never would have met you and the greedy and corrupt goddamn assholes who run Aetna,” states an accompanying indictment handed down May 28.

A little over a month later, Dynlacht allegedly sent Finke another letter, which referred to a pair of Aetna employees—a resolution analyst and a senior benefit specialist identified in court filings only by their initials—as “two of the greediest, most corrupt and useless people that I have ever interacted with.”

“Honestly, I find useless idiots like [them] in my bowel movements,” Dynlacht wrote, according to the indictment.

In early January 2023, the indictment says Dynlacht sent an email from his personal account to Finke and the two Aetna employees, plus Lynch, saying, “[t]he four of you are corrupt, greedy cocksuckers… Go fuck yourselves, you goddamn fucking thieves… Aetna is the absolutely the worst health insurance company in the U.S. and its executives are all criminals who I sincerely hope burn in fucking hell!”

That same month, Aetna brass notified AstraZeneca about the letters, along with a recorded phone call during which Dynlacht shouted expletives at an Aetna customer service rep, according to the complaint. Dynlacht was pulled into a meeting with AstraZeneca HR, where he was told he had violated the company’s code of ethics, the complaint states. However, it goes on, Dynlacht said he felt his communications were “justified,” and a “response in kind” to Aetna’s actions.

But the powers-that-be at AstraZeneca disagreed, and Dynlacht was fired on Jan. 23, 2023.

Less than two months later, Kane, the Aetna president, various Aetna executives, and Dynlacht’s former bosses at AstraZeneca began receiving “graphically violent threatening” emails, physical letters, and faxes from an anonymous sender, the complaint explains. The missives included threats aimed at the execs’ children, and at least one letter was sent to a target’s home, according to the complaint.

In one fax, Dynlacht allegedly posed as a Saudi named “Syed Hussain” and called an Aetna employee a “goddamn fucking thief” for offering out-of-network reimbursements as low as 5 percent.

“You need to do serious prison time for your criminal activities in a maximum security facility where you will be constantly raped in the asshole and defecated on by both your cell mates and the prison guards,” the message read, according to the complaint. “In my home country—The Kingdom of Saudi Arabi [sic]—they would have already cut off your tits and sliced up your little tight cunt. Additionally, they would definitively behead a fucking corrupt bitch like you. You will not evade justice for much longer… one way or the other you must pay for your crimes.”

On May 18, 2023, the same Aetna employee received another fax, this time from a “Steve Hardi,” the complaint states.

“Since the criminal justice system in the U.S. is also extremely corrupt and fucked up, this means that citizens must take justice into their own hands,” the fax read. “You really need to have your fucking brains blown out while you are walking to your car in the Aetna parking lot one day. This will teach you fucking thieves to steal hundreds of millions of dollars. May you and Aetna executive management suffer much worse than your policy members.”

Throughout last year, Dynlacht allegedly mailed off at least a dozen threatening letters, virtually all of them from the Rockville, Maryland area, where he lives, the complaint states. Others went to Dynlacht’s colleagues and superiors at AstraZeneca, saying he hoped, among other things, that attackers would “cut off your balls and your dick before smashing in your fucking skull like it’s a pinata,” that prisoners would insert a “butcher’s knife with a six-inch blade into your rectums before strangling you and breaking your necks,” and envisioned one recipient’s children “suffer[ing] greatly when they become motherless,” according to the indictment.

A logo of Aetna is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

A logo of Aetna is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange .

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

As 2024 rolled around, the threats became even more sinister, the complaint alleges.

In a letter to two Aetna employees postmarked March 22, 2024, the sender “changes their wording from ‘wishing’ and ‘hoping’ that graphic and horrific violent actions ‘should’ be taken against the previous victims, to instead using more explicit threats,” the complaint states.

The sender, who identified themselves as “Someone Whose Family Was Severely Harmed by the Goddamn Greedy Aetna Management,” promised to hack their bodies “into small pieces with machetes or guillotine like devices” and place the body parts in and around Aetna offices, according to the complaint.

On April 11, 2024, an “Alex Stevens” emailed Aetna’s appeals department to say he hoped the company’s executive jet crashed and killed everyone aboard, the complaint goes on.

The next day, a “Christopher Thomas” emailed Aetna execs, writing, “I lost my stepdaughter recently because Aetna refused to pay for her reconstructive surgeries that she required from 3rd degree burns and she ended up killing herself as a result,” according to the complaint. “I hope the four of you are burned alive in plane crashes, as you all travel very much.”

A slew of messages sent in late April ramped up the threats even further, the feds say.

In one, the sender said the executions “would involve home invasion robberies whereby the home invaders use power drills… with 6 inch drill bits to drill multiple holes through your skulls but not before brutally torturing and raping you in every orifice like you have tortured and raped your policyholders for years,” according to the complaint.

Yet another imagined inserting “very small quantities of demolition explosives (Gelignite) in your orifices including your mouths, vaginas, and rectums not to kill you but to give you four fuckers third degree burns and then you four will all commit suicide yourselves!”

After tracing everything back to Dynlacht via postal data, handwriting analysis, and an IP address that led directly back to his residence, the FBI showed up at Dynlacht’s apartment on May 8 at 6 a.m., the complaint states.

Armed with a search warrant, agents scoured Dynlacht’s home for evidence. In a closet, they found an apparently unsent letter dated March 12, 2023, addressed to an Aetna employee and an AstraZeneca plan liaison.

Dynlacht was arrested and charged with cyberstalking, a felony count that carries up to five years in prison.

In a motion filed a few days after Dynlacht was taken into custody, Wilson, Dynlacht’s lawyer, and co-counsel Eleni Kousoulis, wrote, “The nature of the messages appears to be out of character for a man who is fifty-four years old and has never incurred an arrest. Undersigned counsel needs time to have Mr. Dynlacht psychologically evaluated so that an appropriate home plan can be developed.”

On Monday, Aetna spokesman Alex Kepnes said in an email, “We have nothing to add to the information in the indictment.”

Dynlacht is scheduled to be arraigned on June 13.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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