An American man has pleaded guilty to swatting an opponent across the country following a gaming-related argument.
A Pennsylvania gamer has confessed in court that he swatted a Florida-based player after an argument online.
Nicholas Huffine pleaded guilty to one charge of interstate threats in Federal Court for the incident in January 2017. He will face up to five years imprisonment, or a $250,000 fine.
Swatting involves a person making a hoax call to the police about a serious crime at another person’s house. Often hostage situations or bomb threats are claimed, which means the police have to act with a full emergency response.
According to a Department of Justice report, Huffine admitted to calling police in Florida, saying someone was armed and holding a family hostage at a home in Winter Garden. This was after Huffine and the unknown man had a dispute over a game, although the court did not say what game was involved.
While there were no injuries, there was significant damage to the property after the police had to forcibly enter. Huffine was indicted in June 2017, six months after the incident.
US State Attorney Scott W. Brady said in court that swatting is an incredibly dangerous act that puts the lives of innocent people at danger.
“Swatting is terrifying to victims, as well as highly dangerous as law enforcement agents operate under the belief that they are responding to the scene of active and ongoing violent criminal activity.”
Earlier this year, Tyler Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in jail after swatting an opponent in 2017 over a $2 Call of Duty wager match, leading to their death.
The Barriss swatting case led to a change in Kansas state law surrounding false alarms made to police that result in death, with the crime now carrying a minimum ten year prison term.
Huffine will face court against on January 9, 2020 for sentencing.