An Olympia man is now charged federally for making harassing and obscene phone calls to women across the U.S. and Canada. Daniel Christopher Leonard, 32, is charged by criminal complaint with two federal crimes: Use of a telecommunications Device in Interstate Communications with Intent to Harass and Interstate Communication with Threat to Injure Person. The first count is punishable by up to three years in prison. The second count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, the Monterey, California Police Department opened an investigation in August 2009, when a Monterey woman reported receiving obscene phone calls. The caller ID that came up on the calls came from a variety of area codes and numbers, but the voice, although it sounded as if it was electronically altered, was the same. In December, the woman received similar calls at her place of work. The caller continued to make the obscene calls in February, March and April 2010. Since the calls were coming from a variety of phone numbers, and since the caller’s voice sounded electronically altered, Monterey Police detectives suspected an internet “phone spoof” service. Detectives contacted phone spoof services and were able to confirm that one of them had the victim’s phone numbers recorded in their system.
On March 30, 2010, a Superior Court Judge in Monterey issued a warrant for all records the internet phone spoofing company had related to the victim’s phone numbers. The information revealed Leonard had been using the service to make the calls. In fact, all of the calls Leonard made had been recorded by the service. More than 1,500 calls had been made on the account. The records showed that 177 calls had been made to a victim who worked in Leonard’s apartment complex. That woman had repeatedly filed police reports regarding threatening obscene phone calls. That victim told police that she believed the caller was able to see her at her work close in time to the calls.
Leonard was arrested on April 27, 2010. He has been in state custody since that time, and now will be transported to the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Monterey California Police Department, the Olympia Police Department and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma. Ms. Warma heads the U.S. Attorney’s Office working group on cyber crime.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington