|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF3381
October 16, 2007
TEEN COMPUTER HACKER FACES CHARGES FOR ENDANGERING LAKE FOREST COUPLE BY CAUSING
SWAT TO BE SENT TO THEIR HOME IN
FAKE MURDER CALL
SANTA ANA – A teenager will be brought back to Orange County to face felony charges for endangering the lives of a Lake Forest couple by directly causing an armed SWAT team to be sent to their home using a computer hacking scheme. Randall Ellis, 19, Mulkiteo, WA, is charged with one felony count of computer access and fraud, two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence, one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime, and two felony counts of assault with an assault weapon by proxy. The term “proxy” indicates that the defendant was not in possession of the weapons, but was directly responsible for their use. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison. Ellis was arrested in Snohomish County, WA, on Friday, October 12, 2007 and waived extradition yesterday at an extradition hearing. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, October 22, 2007 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. on March 29, 2007, Ellis is accused of hacking into the Orange County 9-1-1 system. From his home in Washington, he is accused of randomly picking the names of a married Lake Forest couple, whom he had never met, and pretending to be them on the 9-1-1 system. To confirm the victim’s names, Ellis is accused of prank calling their home, where the couple was sleeping with their two toddlers.
He is accused of using the victim’s names and address and claiming to have shot and murdered someone in the couple’s home, and threatening to shoot additional people. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) immediately deployed a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to surround the Lake Forest residence. Hearing rustling in the bushes outside and believing it to be a prowler, John Doe took a knife from the kitchen and went into the backyard, where he found the SWAT team pointing assault rifles at him. John Doe and Jane Doe were both handcuffed at gun point by SWAT and held until SWAT determined the report was a fake. The Orange County District Attorney High Tech Crimes Unit and OCSD linked Ellis to the crime using forensic computer technology. Ellis is accused of instigating similar 9-1-1 emergency responses in other states including Arizona, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
Deputy District Attorney David Demurjian of the Major Frauds Unit is prosecuting this case.