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Man who falsely reported active shooter at UA sentenced to 24 months in prison

Posted at 3:29 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 01:41:10-04

A 22-year-old man was sentenced to 24 months in prison on three federal charges on Monday. He's responsible for falsely reporting a bomb threat and an active shooter at the University of Arizona Administration Building in 2013 

The FBI worked with the UA Police Department to identify 22-year old Mir Islam of New York, New York.

Islam faced charges stemming from a conspiracy of "swatting" and "doxing" several victims, the false bomb threat and online harassment constituting cyberstalking against a student, all occurring between February and September of 2013, according to the FBI.

Federal investigators say Islam swatted at least 20 celebrities and federal officials. They also say Islam and others  posted private information of at least 50 celebrities and lawmakers.

Swatting is when someone makes a false 911 report that is serious enough to warrant armed police response. Doxing is illegally getting someone's private information, like Social Security Numbers and credit card information, and putting online. The victims are then subject to identity theft. 

A spokesperson for the FBI says swatting is dangerous and takes first responders away from other emergency calls they should be responding to. It can also be traumatizing for the victims, and for the law enforcement officials that respond.

The false report of a bomb threat and active shooter at UA happened on March 22, 2013 and resulted in a 5 hour lockdown on campus.

The lockdown included a floor-by-floor search of the Administration Building and evacuations of other buildings. 

After searches by the FBI, UAPD, TPD SWAT teams and K-9 patrols, no gunman or evidence of a shooting or bomb were found. 

Pam Scott with the University of Arizona says that this call and the police response ended up costing $40,000. Scott says that cost was split between TPD, the FBI and the UA.  

The suspect, Islam, is internationally known for online hacking schemes and used a sophisticated IP address relay system in attempt to allude authorities.

"As a result of the FBI's efforts and their cooperation with UAPD, this case has been brought to a close," said UAPD Chief Brian A. Seastone. "We appreciate the support and cooperation the FBI and the United States Attorney provided to bring closure to this serious incident."

According to the FBI, Islam harassed a U of A students months after the false reports. While investigators couldn't give many details, Islam made contact with her online. He called the student and even some of her friends, occasionally threatening them. 

Islam pleaded guilty to the charges on July 6, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

The FBI says Islam had "co-conspirators" but could not disclose their information, only saying they were all known and being looked. at.