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Matt Weigman has joined the ranks of famous hackers to fall into the hands of law enforcement and serve hard time. Legally blind, Mr. Weigman carried out a long campaign of phone attacks from age 14 to 19 that earned him 11 years in prison.  (Source: Wired)
Blind phone hacker's reign comes to a close

On June 12, 2006, SWAT police stormed a house in Alvarado, Texas.  They had received a call from what appeared to be the phone number, from an individual who reported that he was holding hostages and had killed family members with an AK47 while high on hallucinogenic drugs.  The operation, which likely cost the state tens of thousands of dollars, came up empty handed -- there were no hostages and no gunman -- merely scared and confused victims.  Miles away, Guadalupe Martinez, a "swatter" -- a phone hacker that spoofs the 911 system with malicious calls -- was laughing.

Many regard phone hacking as a dead pastime, believing it vanished in the 1980s.  However, it is alive and well in some parts of the country, with a younger generation of phone hacker's (known as "phreakers") wreaking havoc.  The latest case is that of a 19-year-old blind phone hacker in the Boston area who went on a similar spree of phone crimes and harassment, which earned him 11 years in prison.

Matthew Weigman, also known as "Li'l Hacker", is legally blind, but that didn't stop him from joining up with a crew of phone hackers and placing hundreds of harassing calls via the 911 system and other phone systems.  The crimes began when Mr. Weigman was only 14, and continued until this year.

Targeting "employers, landlords, families and friends of multiple party line participants" with zeal, Mr. Weigman showed his victims little mercy.  He and his friends would cut phone lines, snoop on conversations, and send police to his enemies' houses in a concerted attempt to get them fired or evicted. 

He and his friends used a variety of classic phone-hacking schemes.  Among them was "pretexting" calls -- calls to phone company workers where the group would pose as employees or customers in an effort to gain useful information.  Mr. Weigman's phreaker friends would also use war-dialing -- auto-dialing thousands of numbers to try to gain access to the phone system.  They would then meet up and trade passwords and intelligence.

Police first caught wind of Mr. Weigman in 2005 when he called officers to the home of Richard Gasper, a TSA screener, whose daughter Mr. Weigman knew personally.  Mr. Gasper's daughter had refused to participate in phone sex with Mr. Weigman, so he responded with the malicious hoax.

In May 2008 Weigman, his brother and another swatter named Sean Benton, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, drove 70 miles to the house of a Verizon Wireless employee who was investigating the incidents.  They tried to "intimidate and frighten him".  Believing he was above the law, Mr. Weigman saw his unsavory dreams come crashing down; in this case the police showed up and he was arrested.

After a lengthy review and trial, three of his friends -- Stuart Rosoff, Jason Trowbridge and Chad Ward -- earned sentences of five years each.  Guadalupe Martinez, the aforementioned friend of the group, received 30 months.  Another phreaker, Carlton Nalley pled guilty, but failed to show up for sentencing.  And Mr. Weigman, the audacious 19-year-old blind phone hacker, earned the longest sentence of them all -- 11 years (135 months).  The sentence is one of the longest to date and brings to an end this crime saga, serving as a warning to other would-be phone hackers of the risk they are taking.



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RE: Good riddance
By tastyratz on 6/30/2009 9:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
Because jail these days is practically a government paid vacation.
Lots of people locked up couldn't get access to the amenities they have in jail on the outside. If he is in the slammer surfing the web and not missing an episode of Judge Judy, then there has to be SOME part about jail that still sucks...


RE: Good riddance
By MozeeToby on 6/30/2009 10:58:28 AM , Rating: 5
Right, because getting raped every night for 11 years is a fair a just punishment for his behavior. If another country sentenced its citizens to be raped as punishment for crime we would (rightfully) decry the human rights violation.


RE: Good riddance
By invidious on 6/30/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good riddance
By adiposity on 6/30/2009 1:31:44 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure you'll apply the same argument to yourself when you are gnashing your teeth over the cap-and-trade system, or the govt. health care bill.

-Dan


RE: Good riddance
By Samus on 6/30/2009 7:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon, seek out and watch a movie called "Lets Go To Prison" its by the same crew that did "Waiting" minus Dane Cook so if you liked that awkward comedy, you'll love 'prison'.

It's a good 'date' flic too. You can probably find the xvid on piratesbay, at least until August, because its a tough movie to find in hardcopy (although netflix has it)


RE: Good riddance
By MatthiasF on 6/30/2009 12:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the article? Five years of torturing other people, and harassing a woman who wouldn't have (phone) sex with him. He then went out of his way to try to intimidate someone helping the investigation against him.

This guy deserved 11 years and let's be honest, it won't be every night. The novelty will wear off and new meat will arrive. It'll only be the first year or two that'll be a pain in the a...oh.


RE: Good riddance
By adiposity on 6/30/2009 1:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This guy deserved 11 years and let's be honest, it won't be every night.


Apparently you mean, he deserved 11 years AND to be raped a few times. If rape is really a justified punishment, and apparently a lot of people on here think it is, then why don't we make it legal?

Or is your position that the weak or good looking criminals should get a disproportionate amount of raping? Or that the big thugs in prison should develop a taste for raping, so they can be be productive members of society when they get out?

Advocating prison rape seems extremely short-sighted to me. Do you really want to institutionalize rape? Or is it just pleasing to you to think of someone you don't like getting raped, even though technically it isn't allowed? Does it bother you at all that someone who may be innocent of a crime they are arrested for might be easily raped in this system you advocate? Does it bother you that a person who had a few pounds of pot with them might get raped while in prison?

Or is all crime the same to you? Any crime that can result in prison is deserving of the possibility of rape? Wow, what a nuanced position.

-Dan


RE: Good riddance
By HakonPCA on 6/30/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good riddance
By adiposity on 6/30/2009 1:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
I guess so, since I don't detect anything sarcastic about his response. More like gloating.

-Dan


RE: Good riddance
By MatthiasF on 6/30/2009 7:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it was a sarcastic gloat?

Anyway, the guy's blind. You really think they put blind people in with the general population at a prison? He'll be at some minimum security facility with a setup for the visually impaired.

The real irony is that this facility probably has better televisions, even though no one can see them.


RE: Good riddance
By PrimarchLion on 6/30/2009 6:43:34 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with you, but I think it should only be legal in self defense.

</sarcasm>


RE: Good riddance
By ClownPuncher on 6/30/2009 12:41:32 PM , Rating: 4
Jail is not like vacation in any way, please stop talking like you know anything about it, other than what you watched on tv.

Advocating rape as punishment screams maladjustment.


RE: Good riddance
By typo101 on 7/3/2009 6:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
You know you have a problem when somebody named ClownPuncher can call you maladjusted AND have a point.


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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