Man Who Absconded While Under Indictment in “Swatting” Case, is Arrested, Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced to Serve 84 Months in Federal Prison
Defendant Also Ordered to Pay Nearly $80,000 in Restitution
DALLAS — Jeffrey Lynn Daniels, 43, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to serve a total of 84 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in March 2016 to federal charges filed in 2011 in the Northern District of Texas regarding a “swatting conspiracy” and a federal charge filed in the Northern District of Georgia stemming from his resisting arrest in Conyers, Georgia, in early February 2015. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
“Swatting” refers to falsely reporting an emergency to a police department to cause a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) response to a physical address, or making a false report to elicit an emergency response by other first responders to a specific physical address.
According to documents filed in the case, Daniels created software specifically designed for business teleconferencing and entertainment chat lines. His system offered a suite of services from which Daniels benefitted financially. Daniels knew that members of a swatting conspiracy used the system for many things, legal and illegal, and on more than one occasion, they used the teleconferencing aspect to group themselves together, use three-way calling, bridge someone into the conference with them, and in turn, harass the person or persons bridged. Daniels admitted he turned a blind eye to these activities. He could have ended some of their illegal or criminal activities on his system, but he didn’t, nor did he report it to the proper authorities.
Daniels further admitted that on several occasions he gave advice to co-conspirator Matthew Weigman[i] about swatting and how it was done. In fact, Daniels is aware that Weigman, relying on his advice, made swatting calls directed at a location in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2006.
Daniels also admitted that he tried to conceal electronic data on a cell phone belonging to another co-conspirator, Chad Ward,[ii] from Ward’s residence in New York, with the intent to impair the integrity and availability of the items in an FBI investigation.
In Spring 2012, Daniels, while under indictment in the Northern District of Texas for his role in the above-referenced swatting conspiracy, fled to Georgia. On February 1, 2015, Daniels was located at a residence in Georgia. An FBI tactical team entered and re-apprehended Daniels. During the tactical team’s entry, Daniel appeared and displayed a weapon. Daniels waived venue, and pleaded guilty in the NDTX to one count of forcible assault of or interference with a federal officer.
Jason Allen Neff, 35, Daniels’ co-defendant who also pleaded guilty to his role in the swatting case, was sentenced by Judge Lindsay in January 2015 to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $79,440 in restitution.The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney C.S. Heath prosecuted.