Two Plead Guilty To Making False Statements in Connection With Attempted Amtrak Derailment

June 1, 2011 Updated Jun 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Two Plead Guilty To Making False Statements in Connection With Attempted Amtrak Derailment

June 1, 2011 Updated Jun 1, 2011 at 1:27 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Two Cattaraugus County residents have pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with an attempted Amtrak derailment near Irving in July 2010.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Wednesday that James E. Phillips, 48, and Christine Seneca, 44, both of Irving, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara to making a false statement. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, who is handling the case, stated that the defendants lied to FBI agents conducting an investigation into the attempted derailment of an Amtrak passenger train near Irving on July 5, 2010.

Phillips and Seneca were questioned concerning the whereabouts of suspects on July 4 and 5, 2010. They were asked specifically whether they and the suspects had attended a party on July 4 and 5 in Silver Creek, New York, near the scene of the attempted derailment. The defendants denied being present at the party. Subsequent investigation determined both they and the suspects were in fact at the party.