A North Carolina man on Monday pleaded guilty to federal charges of making false shooting and bomb threats to schools in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Timothy Vaughn, 21, of Winston-Salem, N.C. — who used online handles such as “WantedbyFeds” and “Hacker_R_US” — entered guilty pleas on charges of conspiring to make threats and possessing child pornography, the Department of Justice said in a news release.
Authorities had linked Vaughn to the Apophis Squad, a worldwide group of computer hackers who intend to cause chaos through threatening phone calls, emailing reports of fake attacks and launching other attacks on the internet, the department said.
Vaughn admitted to making false reports of a plane hijacking on a United Airlines plane flying from London to San Francisco, as well as possessing nearly 200 sexually explicit images and videos of children.
Vaughn will face a minimum sentence of 35 years in federal prison and will be sentenced on June 8.
A second defendant named in the indictment, 20-year-old George Duke-Cohan of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is serving a prison sentence in Britain for the false hijacking threat.
Vaughn admitted on Monday to helping Duke-Cohan make the false threat.