The making of false 911 calls purposely intended to mobilize an armed police SWAT team has become a frightening trend in the U.S. The estimated number of “swatting” incidents has more than doubled since 2011, according to one former FBI agent. Someone who commits the crime of swatting will face severe consequences ranging from a state charge of disorderly conduct for making a false police report to federal charges under the False Information and Hoaxes Act. Anyone accused of making a false police report should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
California Swatter Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison
The most famous swatting case to date involves a 26-year-old California man who made dozens of false 911 calls reporting bombs, murders, and other acts of violence. One of these calls resulted in the death of an innocent Kansas man when a SWAT team raided his home. The Californian pled guilty to 51 federal charges related to his false reports of bombs, murders, and other acts of violence. He now faces at least 20 years in prison.
A 19-year-old Ohio video gamer who asked the California man to “swat” the Kansas man pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. His plea deal recommended two years of probation and a two-year ban from online gaming.
Disorderly Conduct Conviction in Naperville Swatting Case
In a separate incident in 2017, a Nevada man called the police in Naperville, Ill. and falsely reported the presence of explosives in a residence and the shooting of a woman who was either wounded or dead. Naperville police responded by sending more than a dozen officers to the residence. Will County prosecutors originally charged the Nevada man with intimidation, computer fraud, and filing a false 911 report. A plea bargain resulted in the conviction of the defendant on one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct with a sentence of 18 months’ probation, 60 hours of community service, payment of over $5,000 in restitution to the Naperville Police Department, and an additional fine of $2,500.
Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/26-1) defines several distinct acts that can result in a felony charge of disorderly conduct, including:
- Transmits a false alarm of fire.
- Transmits a false alarm regarding a bomb.
- Transmits a false threat of violence at a school.
- Makes a false report to a police officer about a crime in progress.
- Makes a false 911 call to elicit an emergency response.
Call a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of raising a false alarm and face criminal charges for disorderly conduct in Will County, contact a Joliet criminal defense lawyer who can intervene with the prosecuting attorney on your behalf. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a no-charge initial consultation.