Friday, January 30, 2009

911 phone SWATer found guilty

An 18-year-old blind prankster known as "Little Hacker" who fooled police into responding to bogus emergencies pled guilty in federal court in Dallas on Thursday.

Matthew Weigman, of Revere, Mass., admitted to "swatting" victims in Fort Worth and Alvarado, Texas.

"Swatting" is a scheme by telephone hackers in which they take over another person's telephone number, call 911 and falsify an emergency, fooling police into sending officers -- sometimes a SWAT team -- to a bogus call. Weigman has been in custody since the FBI arrested him in Boston in May 2008.

Weigman admitted that on June 12, 2006, he called police in Alvarado, saying he had shot and killed members of his family, was armed with an AK-47 and was holding hostages. He made the call appear to come from the house of an Alvarado resident. He made a similar call to Fort Worth police on Oct. 1, 2006. Nobody was injured in either hoax but police rushed to each call as if there was real danger.

Weigman also eavesdropped on people's telephone calls "for both pleasure and financial gain" and hacked into phone company computers, turning phone accounts off and on at will. In his guilty plea, Weigman also admitted to retaliating against a New Hampshire fraud investigator for Verizon who was working with the FBI on the investigation. Weigman and two other men drove to the investigator's house "to intimidate and frighten him," prosecutors said.

Weigman faces up to 13 years in prison. Charges are still pending against two co-defendants also charged in the case, Sean Benton of Malden, Massachusetts, and Carlton Nalley, of Alexandria, Virginia. (info from MSNBC)

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