Federal officials Saturday charged the president of NDSU with three counts of online catfishing and sock puppetry, issuing a warrant for his arrest.
A source from inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed Dean Bresciani was the man behind the popular “Marz Mathews” account.
“Primary reports indicate that (Bresciani) created this persona to fight loneliness and have an outlet to produce what is being described as ‘dank memes,’” the lead FBI agent, who would only speak on terms of anonymity, told The Rectum.
The news that this “California persona” was fake shocked the local Twittersphere to its core.
“I literally cannot even,” said Jon Lipp, a super-senior majoring in something. “Marz’s — er, Bresciani’s — tweets are — um, were — so fire. You’re telling me the middle-aged white man who runs our university was behind this?”
A five-month investigation launched by the FBI and local authorities detail that, yes, Bresciani fooled the world into believing he was the self-described “Goddess of the NDSU Twittersphere.”
A covert cover-up
The story of “Marz” begins in December of 2012, though it only caught law enforcement’s attention at the end of last year.
“The account has been active since 2012,” the FBI agent said, “but Bresciani hadn’t gained major popularity until recently.”
Today, @marisaamathews, has more than 1,000 followers and has tweeted over 28,000 times.
“He was prolific,” the lead Fargo cop on the case writes in an email, “and dank.”
Bresciani used the Marz account as a platform to create memes and offer commentary on society. His pinned tweet is a list of rappers reimagined as food, including the likes of “Snacklemore” and “Soup Dogg.”
“My favorite tweets were the ones about how Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer,” said Professor X, @CatSenator. “This news is devastating. Woof.”
The Marz account claimed to be a California native who went to NDSU during the 2014-15 school year. She didn’t return at the beginning of this year because of a mysterious illness.
“People from California don’t come to Fargo. And college students don’t get seriously sick,” the FBI source said. “That’s when we knew something was up.”
Early in the investigation, law enforcement had no reason to believe Bresciani had any connection to the account — or, frankly, the Twittersphere in general.
“He’s a sneaky stinker,” the Fargo cop writes. “Most people type in ‘Dean Bresciani’ and see that sad account of his with only one tweet.
“It appears that dejected handle was a cover-up to the Marz account.”
‘A cautionary tale’
The law enforcement sources denied to say what led to the eventual charges being brought specifically against Bresciani.
“The clues are there, though,” said the FBI agent.
Beyond the NDSU connection between Bresciani and the Marz account, both appear to enjoy selfies and pop culture.
“And then there was that violent rant a few months back about how people should lay off on Bresciani because he took an expensive trip to India,” said Lipp. “I guess, in hindsight, that makes it kinda obvious.”
The charges, Class D misdemeanors in the state of North Dakota, could hit Bresciani, and, subsequently, the alumni donors, with up to a $300 fine. He has yet to have his chauffer drive him to the Cass County jail.
“Let this be a lesson, a cautionary tale, that young kids on the internet shouldn’t follow just anyone tweeting fire,” said the agent. “It might just be a lonely university president.”