Last Defendant Sentenced in Swatting Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 16, 2009|
DALLAS—Carlton Nalley, 35, was sentenced Friday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn to 108 months (nine years) in federal prison following his guilty plea to offenses related to his involvement in a swatting conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Nalley’s two co-defendants, Matthew Weigman, 19 and Sean Paul Benton, 25, were sentenced in June 2009 to 135 months and 18 months, respectively. Nalley, a former resident of Alexandria, Virginia, failed to appear as ordered for that sentencing and was arrested the following month in Maryland.
Specifically, in February 2009, Nalley, who is also known by his alias “Madison,” pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, victim or informant and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and unauthorized access of a protected computer. Weigman, a/k/a “Little Hacker” and “Hacker,” pleaded guilty to the same offenses; Benton pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to obstruct justice.
Nalley admitted that through his association with Weigman and coconspirators named in the indictment U.S. v. Stuart Rosoff, et al., he knew that they made unauthorized access to telecommunication company information stored on protected computers to obtain personal identifying information on their intended targets, and used software and hardware configured to insert or modify telecommunication access devices and account information for telephone customers and employees to obtain free telephone service or to discontinue service for telephone subscribers. Approximately 15-20 participants in the telephone party lines, including Nalley, Weigman and the Rosoff defendants participated in targeting, executing and obtaining information to facilitate swatting calls.
Prior to 2004, Nalley participated in telephone party lines and in 2004, Weigman joined the party lines. They agreed to join forces to engage in social engineering, spoofing, swatting and retaliation.
In 2006 and 2007, Nalley used various spoofcards on multiple occasions to obtain personal identifying information, calling businesses or family members while using what appeared to be the phone number of the victims and attempting to get those call recipients to provide him information about the victims while pretending to be the victim. He also used spoofcards to call telephone companies to have phone service started, turned off, and otherwise altered. He knew the spoofcards were used to harass victims, such as ordering services for victims that they did not want and which they would have to end up paying for, such as Imperial Sedan services. Nalley and Weigman called victims and made threats—such as threatening their livelihoods, their family members’ livelihoods, terminating their telephone service, and putting them and their families in physical danger— if they did not cooperate with them or other coconspirators.
From 2004 through 2008, Nalley knew that Weigman and others were accessing protected telephone company computers without authorization and Nalley assisted Weigman by making calls for him, storing information for him, and ordering equipment for hm. Nalley knew that Weigman and others were gaining access to these computers to obtain free telephone service, terminate the telephone service of individuals they did not like, listen/monitor their victims’ telephone calls, and otherwise harass their victims. Nalley knew that the services they obtained were valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.
In addition, from 2004 through 2008, Nalley assisted Weigman and other coconspirators in obtaining credit cards belonging to others, including U.S. Government credit cards which were for use by the U.S. military. Nalley stored the credit card information for Weigman in various email accounts that Nalley set up. Nalley provided the credit card numbers to Weigman when he needed them, knowing that the credit card numbers were stolen and that Weigman traded those credit cards with other individuals for services or money. Sometimes Nalley assisted Weigman in obtaining credit card numbers by listening in on customer service calls to various companies, such as Sprint. When a customer would report his credit card number to pay for services, Weigman, using his fine-tuned listening and memory skills, would memorize it or Nalley would write it down.
Nalley knew that coconspirators planned to swat a party line participant and this party line participant’s parents. Nalley and other conspirators disclosed sensitive information that belonged to these victims on the party line and that information was used by the coconspirators to swat the parents, who lived in Alvarado, Texas, in June 2006. In October 2006, a coconspirator used a spoof card, pretending to be the father, telephone the 911 emergency services for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, identified himself as the victim’s father, claimed that he had shot and killed members of his family, claimed he was armed and holding hostages, and that he would kill the remaining hostages. Both the June and October swatting calls caused a SWAT response.
Nalley assisted Weigman in Weigman’s efforts to retaliate against a Verizon fraud investigator who was assisting the FBI in their investigation of Nalley, Weigman, and Rosoff and his coconspirators. Nalley also knew that in April 2008, Weigman spoofed phone calls from the fraud investigator’s office telephone number to Nalley’s home phone number to give the appearance of harassing calls from the investigator to Nalley. Weigman and Nalley called Verizon to lodge a complaint against the investigator and Nalley accused him of harassing him and misconduct. Nalley lodged the complaint against the investigator in an attempt to get Verizon to terminate his employment.
U.S. Attorney Jacks praised the investigative efforts of the FBI and the assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts. Assistant U.S. Attorney C. S. Heath prosecuted the case.