Posting online comments under multiple aliases is apparently against the law, at least in the case of Raphael Haim Golb, 49, who is suspected of using 50 different e-mail addresses and monikers — some of the names belonging to academic rivals — to bolster his arguments about the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls. To back up his belief that the relics were actually produced in Jerusalem libraries, Golb allegedly used multiple online "sock puppets," or fake identities, to make it seem like he had supporters.

Golb is also suspected of publishing a false confession to plagiarism under the name of Professor Lawrence Schiffman, the chairman of Judaic studies at New York University who had been critical of Golb's theories. Prosecutors claim that Golb's false identities allowed him to obtain a benefit, meaning they can charge him with criminal impersonation, identity theft and aggravated harassment. But Golb's lawyer, Ron Kuby, told the Times that "gaining an advantage in academic debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls is not the kind of benefit required by the law."