MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) – A Racine man is one of two defendants accused of hacking people’s Ring doorbell accounts and using them to livestream the police response to fake calls on social media.
Homes across the U.S. were used in the “swatting” scheme, including Illinois, Michigan, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Texas, and Virginia. The swatting calls took place over a one-week period in 2020.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges Kya Christian Nelson, 21, of Racine, and James Thomas Andrew McCarthy, 20, of Charlotte, N.C., obtained the user names and passwords of some Yahoo! email accounts and figured out which people used the same email address and password for Ring doorbell accounts.
Nelson, who went by the hacker name “ChumLul,” and McCarthy, who went by “Aspertaine,” would make phony emergency calls to law enforcement agencies where those people lived and shared the video and audio of the responses. Sometimes they would taunt and threaten the responding agencies through the doorbell’s speaker.
Nelson is behind bars in Kentucky in an unrelated case. He’s charged with conspiracy to intentionally access computers without authorization, two counts of intentionally accessing without authorization a computer, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
McCarthy was arrested last week in Arizona on the same conspiracy charge.
Each one faces a minimum of 5 years in prison if convicted on the conspiracy charge. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory 2-year consecutive sentence.
The FBI issued a public service announcement after those swatting calls in 2020 urging people to use complex passwords and enable two-factor authentication on their smart home devices and to not use the same password more than once.
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