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Lizard Squad Member Pleads Guilty to 23 Charges of Swatting and Other Harassment

by Kyle Hanson

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The Lizard Squad has been mostly infamous for their attacks on gaming networks, such as Xbox Live and PSN. However, a 17-year-old Canadian member of the group is currently in trouble for other activities associated with online harassment. The boy, whose name has been withheld, has pleaded guilty to 23 charges extortion, public mischief and criminal harassment. These charges are mostly in relation to swatting and other false police reports made in order to harass individuals.

The perpetrator would target other players of League of Legends, the popular MOBA title, most of which were female gamers who wouldn’t accept his friend requests. This resulted in him shutting down their internet access, posting their personal information online, calling them late at night, and contacting the police in their hometown in order to elicit a response. These last ones are the most egregious offenses, as he would consciously try to set up police raids on the victim’s home.

Often, he would tell the police he was holding a family hostage, had napalm bombs or had killed someone in the house

Swatting has become a bit of an online epidemic, as harassers call local police, posing as the resident of their target’s home. “Often, he would tell the police he was holding a family hostage, had napalm bombs or had killed someone in the house,” said Crown prosecutor Michael Bauer. “He would demand a ransom, order a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team — hence the term “swatting” — to show up with a police helicopter, or say he would kill any law enforcement official who intervened.”

His worst victim was a young student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. After she repeatedly rejected his online friend requests he began a series of harassment which began with a call to the Tucson police stating that he had killed his parents with an assault rifle, had bombs, and was going to kill any police that showed up. He made a similar call five days later when the victim’s mother was visiting her home, while simultaneously making the same call for her parent’s home. This last call resulted in her father and brother being removed from the home at gunpoint by the police.

Later the harassment continued with the perpetrator telling the victim that he had posted her parent’s credit card information online. A few days after this he used a program to simultaneously send hundreds of text messages to her phone. Last December he hacked into the victim’s University of Arizona email account, as well as her personal Twitter account. He then used these to post her family’s personal information, such as their social insurance numbers. He then called companies trying to cancel various utilities, such as their home internet, as well as signing the victim up for a $500 a month cell phone plan.

The teen was eventually arrested after conducting a live stream of his harassment. Many viewers informed the authorities when he began making swatting attacks on a home in Grove City, Ohio. He has since been charged with 40 crimes, 23 of which he had pleaded guilty to so far. His sentencing will take place on June 29th.

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