Teen leader of hackers who made fake 911 threats pleads guilty

An Andover teenager who led a group of hackers who made fake threats nationwide has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to juvenile detention. The 17-year-old, whose name was not released, was ordered into the custody of the Department of Youth Services until he is 21 years old, State Police said in a statement.

The teen made multiple “swatting” phone calls, using the Internet to anonymously make hoax threats, including bomb threats, State Police said. An investigation began in April after “swatting” calls were received in Massachusetts and several other states.

Authorities searched the teenager’s home using a dog trained to detect hidden electronic devices, State Police said. In his bedroom, investigators found a router that allows someone to anonymously connect to the Internet.


State Police said they also found online messages between the group of hackers the teenager led about bomb threats they had made.

He had made hoax 911 calls to Florida, New York, and Rhode Island, State Police said. He had also made calls to residents in Wilmington and Woburn and to IMAX theaters inside Jordan’s Furniture stores in Natick and Reading.

State Police said the teen was “familiar with” bomb threats in more than a dozen locations in Massachusettts and aware of threats in Little Falls, N.Y., and Spring Valley, N.Y.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bomb threat charges. Prosecutors had sought a three- to five-year prison sentence.

Olivia Quintana
can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com.