Canadian teen convicted on 34 counts in international ‘swatting’ case

A Canadian teenager who taunted authorities after anonymously making bomb threats to schools throughout North America was found guilty of nearly three-dozen charges Friday related to online harassment.

Ontario Court Justice Mitch Hoffman convicted the teen on 34 counts Friday, the Ottawa Citizen reported, all but ending a criminal case initiated by U.S. authorities three years earlier.

Prosecutors argued the teenager began targeting victims over the internet in 2013 at the age of 16 and said he soon began making bogus bomb threats and other falsified emergencies in order to dupe police departments into deploying swat teams, a practice colloquially known as “swatting.” The FBI eventually obtained clues linking him to crimes aimed south of the border, and authorities in Ottawa brought charges against the teen the following year thanks to evidence supplied by U.S. investigators.

At the time of his arrest in 2014, the then-17-year-old faced 60 charges related to internet harassment. He eventually was tried for 38 charges and was convicted Friday on all but four, The Citizen reported.

Unidentified on account of his age, prosecutors said the teen publicly taunted the police from his Twitter account prior to being arrested, boasting: “I have guns pointed at your heads. Catch me if you can.”

Investigators said they were later able to link the teen to various crimes in the U.S. and Canada thanks in part to analysis of chat logs saved to boy’s computer in addition to reviewing more than 200,000 internet calls made over Skype, a platform he repeatedly utilized to place bogus emergency calls, according to prosecutors.

The teen’s victim’s weren’t always personal targets, according to prosecutors. Investigators said the teen advertised his swatting services on Twitter while residing in Barrhaven, Ontario, and had customers in the U.S. and Canada.

The four not-guilty verdicts returned Friday involve swatting cases in California, the Citizen reported. The teen will face sentencing for the 38 other convictions at a later date.

Meanwhile, the teen remains subject to outstanding warrants issued in Florida for related cases, according to the newspaper.

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