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back to article Notorious phone phreaker gets 11 years for swatting

A notorious phone phreaker has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after admitting he took part in a scheme that hacked phone systems to fake emergency 911 calls that sent teams of heavily armed police to the home of unsuspecting victims. Matthew Weigman, 19, of Massachusetts received 135 months for his part in one …

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hmmm

this is classic example how not to prosecute. This guy did a lot of bad stuff, but 11 years in prison? Come on !! You get less for selling cocaine.

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technical knowledge

didnt seem like he had much tech knowledge.

Sounds like a lamer

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serious stuff

If you actually managed to send a group of pumped-up cops, guns drawn, into what they thought was a deadly domestic dispute, you could easily get someone killed. If you're doing truly scary drive-by intimidation, especially at night, someone could have a panic attack or go into cardiac arrest. And this guy kept it up, and kept it up, and apparently wasn't going to stop. Seems like a dangerous and unstable young guy who needs to be taken out of circulation for a good long while.

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@ Jimbo 7

'You get less for selling cocaine.'

And your point is ...? At least cocaine is sold to consenting buyers. A SWAT team is a bunch or armed men who have been given misinformation that could lead to them killing an innocent person as they bust into the house.

Frankly, this little tit is a public menace on a power trip. I'll have no complaints if they make him serve the full 11 years. Maybe he will learn some sense in the meantime.

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I work on race cars

You gotta love all the fancy terms they throw in there when the state/government has to actually do something. Yeah it sucks that the Swat team is out on someones lawn and might of blew away the family dog in the process but after all it's good training for them in a real world situation.

I want to know what charges can be filed against debt collectors and telemarketers for spoofing their numbers and calling from fake ones. I know when I call Verizion about telemarketers they say "we can't do anything".

Im wise to the phone spoofing now as well and there are some commercial services that provide it for a fee however I don't think doing anything malicious on those would be a good idea:)

Some people want to get caught, they want to get caught and this appears to be one of those people. I doubt he'll be a hero in the pen.

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someone could have been killed

Fake 911 calls that result in SWAT teams storming a house ready to shoot .. could very easily result in an accidental shooting.

Plus innocent people were threatened with assault weapons.

That's not a prank phone call its a serious crime.

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FAIL

11 years is not nearly enough

Getting armed swat teams raiding people's homes because you're a wanker is NOT cool and the 11 years doesn't come close to what this idiot and his accomplices should have gotten. On the other hand, it might have been fun if they had driven around my neighborhood trying to intimidate someone.....

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Anonymous Coward

Oops he phucked up

He's lucky he only got 11 years. He could be dead.

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Anonymous Coward

Little Hacker?

Sounds like a Little Fucker

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@Jimbo 7

It does not sound too much to me. Remember that prison terms add up: he got one year for this, two for that, and he did so much that he got eleven years...

it was more than just pranks. He was terrorizing innocent people.

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FAIL

he got off lightly

The courts in general, and the Federal courts in particular, tend to frown on those who attempt to intimidate witnesses. They also dislike those who place innocent 3rd parties in positions where they may get seriously injured or killed. M'man did both at the same time. Here in deepest Florida, it's an automatic minimum 10 year sentence for crimes involving a firearm, 20 years if the firearm is fired, and life if someone is injured or killed. And, no, it doesn't matter if you personally had the firearm or not. When he indulged in 'swatting', he became guilty of a felony involving use of firearms: the guns carried by the cops he sent to attack innocent 3rd parties. He did this deliberately and with malice aforethought. If he'd been before a Florida court, he'd have got at least 10 years for each count, and if the judge didn't like him, they'd have been ordered served consecutively. And he'd have got a whopping big fine dropped on him, too... and additional time added to the sentence if (when) he couldn't pay.

He should be counting his blessings. Federal pen is much nicer than most state pens, especially state pens in Ye Former Confederacy, and he only got 11 years.

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@Jimbo 7. And if one of those SWAT busts had gone wrong?

What this little bastard was doing, stood a very good chance of getting someone killed eventually.

And almost certainly did get innocent people hurt.

Armed cops expecting scenes of murder and mayhem ARE NOT at their most reasonable.

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@Jimbo 7

Why not 11 years? I'd consider that sending a SWAT team round is similar to attempted murder (sure, the SWAT team are well-trained, but their main concern is the imaginary hostages, so there is plenty of scope for a fatal misunderstanding), and certainly criminal damage (want your door kicked in?). As aggravating factors, he's trying to pervert the course of justice by intimidating a witness, and it is a repeat offence. Oh, and wasting police time.

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@Jimbo 7

People have chosen to buy cocaine. None of the victims here chose to have a bunch of armed police burst into their house. Someone could have been shot.

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@Jimbo 7

"this is classic example how not to prosecute. This guy did a lot of bad stuff, but 11 years in prison? Come on !! You get less for selling cocaine."

Yes, 11 years in prison. What he did was attempted murder. Believe it or not, most people consider murder to be a serious offense. The fact that he used police SWAT teams as a weapon doesn't change anything. He attempted to kill people, it was premeditated, and it was extremely malicious.

Let's see -- attempted murder, abuse of emergency services, harassment, stalking, threatening people, intentionally inflicting emotional pain on a minor (assuming the girl in Colorado was a minor), attempting to coerce a minor into phone sex, invasion of privacy, identity fraud, and various wire- and phone-related offenses. And you think 11 years is too much? He already should have been in jail since the feds knew he was routinely committing crimes. I don't care that he was 15 or that he was blind. We have laws for a reason.

As for your drug comment, you SHOULD get less time for selling cocaine. A drug dealer is simply giving people what the people request, and what they request happens to be illegal. A drug dealer does not try to kill his customers.

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Anonymous Coward

A title is required.

11 years for endangering the lives of a lot of people seems fair enough. Especialy when you considder that he kept this up even though he knew he was under investergation. All the signs of a reoffender. Its a must for him he can´t controle it. SInce the US don´t belive in treating sick people like this 11 years in the cage seems ok.

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Too much time on his hands

Really, how about doing something that is useful, and thereby mutually beneficial. This guy now has the opportunity to think about something other than his own agenda. If your agenda includes striking out at your perceived enemies with armed SWAT then its no wonder you end up in jail.

Maybe they will let him do MAC work on the prison PBX, or not.

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The point

Lets not miss the point. The guy was not jailed just for annoying people or stealing services. He was intimidating witnesses. The law rightly regards that as more serious than the initial offenses.

In Britain, juror intimidation forced a change in the jury trial system, allowing conviction by majority verdicts where only ten of twelve jurors agree. Unfortunately, this has now come to be used routinely, to get easier convictions even in cases where intimidation is not suspected. Essentially, we no longer have the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard, and that is down to the intimidators.

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Good riddance

It's a really nasty thing to do; traumatizing for the victims and gets the emergency services people really ticked off. Much worse than using a botnet to send spam email. He's been doing this for 4-5 years and clearly needs to gain some maturity. Some intelligence, too; making more attacks when he knows he's under investigation is idiotic.

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That's not phreaking.

It's not hacking, either.

The moron is (was?) a script kiddie, with no concept of the underlying principles. He was in way over his head, got caught, and now will pay the price.

Stupidity SHOULD hurt. The other brats might learn a lesson. Evolution continues ...

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Anonymous Coward

Jimbo 7

"You get less for selling cocaine."

Which just shows you how lame the punishment is for selling this sort of drug.

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No hmmm

He wasn't fiddling long distance bills or mashing credit cards he was sending heavily armed SWAT teams to what they though was a live fire situation. That's assault with a shitload of deadly weapons not playing around.

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Stop

@Jimbo 7

What do you think can happen if a swat team shows up at someone's house thinking there is an armed intruder?

Swatting is a violent crime with a large potential for possibly lethal injury. The punishment fits.

Don't get me started on what I think of the phone company for it's completely lax security though.

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Anonymous Coward

good news

stop the little twat causing more grief.

@Jimbo 7

You get less for selling coke because it's not such a serious offence.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jimbo

I'd call sending an armed police unit to somebody's house after telling them that you've shot your family and are holding hostages is tantamount to attempted murder.

Serves him right.

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Flame

11 years not at all excessive

This guy is an unrepentant and obsessive criminal. His stunts weren't just 'bad', they were life-threatening. And interfering with witnesses is rightfully treated very seriously by the courts.

Plus he's too damned stupid to realise that when you're already in a hole, you need to stop digging!

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Was right to a phree call waived?

Police: "you are under arrest! Anything you say, blah, blah".

Hacker : "I want to call my lawyer"

Police: "What, on a phone? PMSL. LOLZ"

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FAIL

11 years sounds about right.

What a thoroughly odious young man with complete lack of responsibility and a hugely inflated sense of entitlement.

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FAIL

11 years is nothing for what this guy did

Someone please send a SO19 armed squad to Jimbo 7's house. See if he thinks 11 years is suitable after that.

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Pint

Ummm

"but failed to appear in court last week"

Ohhhh ... we're going to Jamacia ..

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Troll

Good old boys

I think 11 years is about right as the people above said in the good old U.S of A its shoot first, thats it, so yes sending SWAT round IS murder.

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Grenade

Drug Wholsale work..

"..A drug dealer does not try to kill his customers..."

His competitors, on the other hand...

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Even a Blind Man .....

... should have seen this coming.

If you're going to be dumb; you'd better be tough.

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C'mon Jimbo7

I think enough people have pointed out your mistake .... care to respond?

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FAIL

Intimidation?

I'm not sure how a blind person driving around outside my house would intimidate me... I'd find it rather comical as I throw wheely bins in his path.

Anyway, if he's blind, how did he find his way to the house anyway? Or did he hack his satnav to be extermely accurate?

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In addition....

to attempting to get at least two people blown away by swat teams in the words of one of the linked articles....,"Weigman parked on the spy line to overhear customers giving out their credit card numbers, which he memorized and passed to accomplices. Weigman and his friends used the numbers to purchase computers and other electronics." sourced from the first of the Wired articles.

Sorry to jump on you old bean Jimbo7, he's a repeat offending thief, spy, sexual predator, if he is denied anything by his victims then he harrasses, retaliates, and he attempts to engineer the deaths of others. These kind of activities wouldn't look too out of place on a wiseguys charge sheet. The only differences when wiseguys do intimidation they do it physically and they do it mostly themselves. They don't try to get you shot by cops, they'd do it themselves.

Eleven years too long ? No. Not nearly long enough. He's been warned, he's been inducted into the system to the extent that the Feds are aware of him, and that he has his own handler - He now needs to realise that he's subject to the same law as the rest of us.

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sex sessions

"Weigman became the target of a federal investigation in 2005 when he was just 15, after sending a police SWAT team to the Colorado house of a girl who refused to participate in phone sex sessions."

Hope he enjoys the sex sessions he'll be getting in clink!

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WTF?

11 years?!

Sod that, the little bastard should get much more, double I say!

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@Jimbo 7

@Jimbo 7: The stupid little scrote should count himself lucky he only got 11.25 years.

Much as I believe that sentencing for "hacking" related "crimes" has been way over the top, what this idiot did was driven by greed, vengeance and malice and in the case of the SWATting incidents could very easily have gotten someone killed.

This guy is no hacker, he's more of a sociopathic career criminal who happened to use technology to commit his crimes and wasn't smart enough to know when to duck and run (or was arrogant enough to think he could just continue doing what he was doing).

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well ...

obviously most of you are marching the path of putting 19 years old guy to prison for very very long time ... which at the end costs a lot of tax money and does not improve his behavior

if he is capable to do things like this when he is 15, then he is actually pretty smart, there could be better ways how to use his brain than locking him for 11 years

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FAIL

@Jimbo 7

"there could be better ways how to use his brain"

Yes, there could be; or could have been. Unfortunately for him; HE CHOSE NOT TO. His repeated criminal activity (which I'm frankly surprised was allowed to go on so long) was of HIS OWN CHOOSING.

He was not forced, coerced, cajoled, or enticed into breaking the law and endangering others.

No sympathy. Not even a little bit.

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Big Brother

So?

Like what Jimbo?If? he is smart enough he will keep his head down do his time and be out before he turns 30 a lot of people do long streaches for lesser offences.

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WTF?

I hope

That when this guy gets out of prison I'm not living any where near him. He is the kind of person that will come out of jail one of two ways. He'll either finally grow up and decide to use his skills in a productive way. Or given how smart and susceptible he is he will fall in with the same types in prison that he did on these party lines. If the latter happens then our judicial system will have just created another sociopath and career criminal.

He should be punished yes, but an 11 year stint in what will probably be a maximum security prison isn't the answer for this kid.

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@ Jimbo 7

I'll take your statements apart - like I'm sure everyone else will or has.

'...marching the path.' I cannot see where you are going at insulting everyones intelligence in knowing that ANY armed force that is trained to combat terrorist activities that was sent to someone's place as a joke or a tactic of fear should be let off lightly. One over zealous soldier and game over. THAT is a waste of tax money. No improvement there.

'if he is capable to do things like this when he is 15...' Catch'em when they're young! 15? Look what he was dong since. It's obvious he can't see to reason. His life is wasted. He's not smart, he's a bullshit artist! He just talks a lot of bullshit over phone lines. Remove his voice box before he gets out of jail. Jimbo 7, I truly think you need to get a life and stop living under that cloud-of-forgiveness because he's blind. This is a criminal. He did criminal acts that endanger others. He did a bad, bad thang! Understand?

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Party lines!, phone phreaking!

Can't beleive this stuff still goes on. The blue box is dead but the spirit lives on.

You can argue "no harm, no foul," but sadly pumped up young men with automatic weapons and a (mistaken) belief they have got some kill-or-be-killed nutter on the other side of the door -> death by cop. its attempted murder (check the relevant CSI Miami for details).

Did'nt the original Capt Crunch also go away to one of Uncle Sam's high security hotels for a bit ?

Real blast from the past stuff. Some thing tells me he's not going to find prison much fun.

But don't they allow prisoners to work on phone services?

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John Dougald McCallum

"Like what Jimbo?If? he is smart enough he will keep his head down do his time and be out before he turns 30 a lot of people do long streaches for lesser offences."

you obviously as most of readers here do not know anybody who got from jail. I have a friend who was very unfortunately in pretty bad tax scheme, of course you can say "yeah put him to jail for 2 years", that's exactly what happened. He got out but he was different person. It was very sad to see that jail was only punishment,t it did not help him to get on the right track as it should.

I don't want to defend this guy, what he did was really bad.

do you really think he will be better person after he gets out? We all want to live far away from these people, we all want to not deal with the problem and just shut the door behind them. Is that the solution?

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'created'?!

He's _already_ a sociopath and a career criminal! He should be locked up for a lot longer than a mere 11 years. And, with any luck he'll serve his sentence in a supermax, where he _can't_ associate with any other criminals; in a Federal supermax, the prisoners are locked into individual cells 23.5 hours a day, and are let out once a day for a half-hour of exercise, one at a time, with only guards in the part of the exercise area they're allowed into. The Feds tend to drop people who threaten witnesses into a supermax, in order to protect the witnesses. The criminals can't attack the witnesses any more, they can't talk to anyone except guards, and the guards themselves are monitored just in case one tries to drum up a little side business. Anyone attempting to suborn the the guards would have to get to at least three: guards go into the cells only in pairs or larger numbers, and they are monitored remotely by video by a third guard who isn't even in the prison complex. The fact that he's been sent up for attempting to intimidate witnesses means that the Feds will be taking special care with him. It's a _really_ bad idea to try to mess with witnesses in a Federal case. The Feds have a very long history of taking that kind of thing very seriously indeed, with all kinds of precedents related to assorted mafiosi. All of that is going to land on top of m'man's pointy head.

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re effectiveness of prison

Maybe it will improve his behavior, maybe it won't. But it protects everyone else from him. Looking at his history, locking him away without access to a phone line is the only way to make him stop; he is incapable of doing so on his own. Perhaps he'll discover some more worthwhile pursuits, rather than living his entire life around a telephone.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jimbo 7

Prison isn't a detriment, punishment, or recovery-center. It's an abstracted "Go sit in the corner for a while and think about what you've done" thing. 11 years to think about what he's done might not be enough, but it will at least take him out of the game. Technology in 11 years will be pretty sweet, and also pretty different. As for the taxes argument, you're already blowing Uncle Sam in taxes so quit complaining or start a revolution.

Then don't get me started on utility. We're al human, the difference between Einstein and the village idiot isn't all that vast compared to say, the average human and the average chimp. Saving more lives is better than saving fewer lives, and sometimes that means individuals suffer.

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