OLYMPIA RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO CYBER-STALKING, THREATENING AND OBSCENE PHONE CALLS USING INTERNET ‘SPOOFING’ SERVICE
Defendant Admits More than 4,000 Harassing Phone Calls to Hundreds of Women in U.S. and Canada
DANIEL CHRISTOPHER LEONARD, 32, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to one count of cyber-stalking and four counts of making threatening communications. LEONARD, the former Human Resources Manager at the Great Wolf Lodge, near Olympia, admits he made more than 4,000 harassing and sexually threatening phone calls to more than 1200 telephone numbers across the U.S. and Canada. Some of the victims in this case had previously worked with LEONARD, but did not recognize his voice because he disguised his voice and his phone number using an internet based “spoofing service.” LEONARD faces up to five years in prison on each count when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton on December 3, 2010.
The Monterey California Police Department opened an investigation in August 2009, when a Monterey woman reported receiving highly sexual and threatening phone calls. The caller ID that appeared on her phone came from a variety of area codes and numbers, but the voice, although it sounded as if it was electronically altered, was the same. In December, the woman received similar calls at her place of work. The caller continued to make the obscene and threatening calls in February, March and April 2010. Since the calls were coming from a variety of phone numbers, and since the caller’s voice sounded electronically altered, Monterey Police detectives suspected an internet “spoofing services” service. Detectives contacted spoofing services and were able to confirm that Tel Tech, Inc. located in Toms River, New Jersey, provided the spoofing service to LEONARD. Tel Tech indicated it kept complete records of its customers calls.
On March 30, 2010, a Superior Court Judge in Monterey issued a warrant for all records the internet phone spoofing company had related to the Monterey victim’s phone numbers. The detailed information turned over by the service provider, including recordings, revealed LEONARD had made the calls. The records also showed that 177 calls had been made to another victim who worked in LEONARD’s apartment complex, in Olympia, Washington. That woman had repeatedly filed police reports regarding threatening and obscene phone calls. That victim told police that she believed the caller was able to see her at her work close in time to the calls. A subsequent federal search warrant led to the identification of about 4000 calls to 1200 separate numbers. Other victims in the case had previously worked with LEONARD either at the Great Wolf Lodge, or in his previous employment in Human Resources at the Hotel Victor, in Miami, Florida.
Many of the victims altered their lives because of the phone calls; quitting jobs, moving, and altering their activities because of the threatening and harassing calls. Many cancelled their cell phone numbers, only to start receiving the calls at home or at work.
LEONARD was arrested on April 27, 2010. He has been in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac since he was charged federally in May 2010.
The case is being investigated by the Monterey California Police Department, the Olympia Police Department and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Warma and Kurt Hermanns.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.