NEW HAVEN–A man who was accused of instigating several swatting incidents, including one at UConn in 2014, has been sentenced.
On Tuesday, Matthew Tollis, 22, of Wethersfield, was sentenced in federal court for making several hoax emergency calls which produced emergency responses, such as the deployment of SWAT and bomb squads, as well as the evacuation of schools and businesses.
“Swatting is not a schoolboy prank, it’s a federal crime,” said U.S. Attorney Dierdre Daly. “These hoaxes have expended critical law enforcement resources and caused severe emotional distress for thousands of victims.”
According to court documents, Tollis was part of a group of Microsoft X-Box gamers who call themselves TCOD (TeAM CrucifiX or Die). They used Skype to make hoax threats about bombs, hostages and shootings, and Tollis was involved in at least six incidents, including one at UConn on April 3 that resulted in a campus-wide lockdown for three hours.
He also participated in a swatting call to the Boston Convention Exhibition Center, Boston University, two high schools in New Jersey and a high school in Texas.
In court, Tollis admitted to finding locations for TCOD members to “swat” and got the telephone numbers and other information to make the calls.
Tollis was arrested by State Police on September 3, 2014 for the UConn incident, and a week later was arrested on federal charges. He pleaded guilty on June 23, 2015 to conspiring to engage in the malicious conveying of false information.
He has been out on bond since his arrest, and he is now ordered to report to prison on November 5 to serve for one year and one day.
During the investigation, the FBI determined that one of the founders of TCOD, a Scottish resident known as Verified, was responsible for at least five swatting incidents in Connecticut and Massachusetts in 2014. Other TCOD members are believed to live in the United Kingdom as well, and the FBI is working with law enforcement there to make additional arrests.