Members of the group were able to spoof their phone numbers using commercially available "spoofing cards," as well as special hardware that could be used to spoof the ANI (Automatic Number Identification) caller identification system used by some telephone systems.
They accessed systems at AT&T subsidiary CTS Telecommunications, in Grand Prairie, Texas, the Verizon Provisioning Center in Irving Texas, and the Frontier Telecommunications center in Rochester, New York, according to court fillings.
AT&T did not return calls for comment.
Cole said that the group swatted people for two reasons: for kicks, and to get even. "They had very limited social skills so they were kind of immature," he said.
Martinez who is described as the one generally responsible for making the telephone calls, was nicknamed the "Wicked Wizard." He would often swat victims as a way of getting even for some chatroom slight, Cole said. "I think it was a power trip for him. It was his way of being the big man."