BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 26-year-old Maryland man has been sentenced to two years in prison for “swatting.”
Zachary Lee was given the two year prison sentence, followed by three years of supervised release, for a charge of conspiracy to provide false information and false information and hoax.
Another person in this case, 19-year-old Robert Walker McDaid, of Coventry, England, has also been indicted. He’s been arrested in the United Kingdom, and has an extradition hearing set for March 27.
In February 2015, Lee reportedly messaged McDaid through an internet telephone service that, “I have someone I need sw@tted.” Lee then gave McDaid the address of the victim, to which McDaid responded, “il do it when im up.”
Lee and McDaid then called the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center’s (MCAC) Terrorism Hotline, and they told police that they were being held hostage by the victim, who was an acquaintance of Lee’s.
Officials say the men claimed the victim was armed and was holding three hostages in an Ellicott City apartment. They claimed he had a loaded gun and several bags of plastic explosives.
The caller then demanded $15,000 in cash be delivered to the victim’s address, and he would start executing the hostages in 15 minutes if his demands were not met.
Howard County police went to the apartment, and the victim was shot with rubber bullets in the chest and face.
Police later found that there were no hostages.
The victim suffered bruised lungs, a fractured rib, and numerous broken bones to the left side of his face, and had to undergo several facial reconstructive surgeries.
More than 40 officers responded to this call, and it cost Howard County PD more than $10,000.