Prank Resulting In 2 NFL GMs Talking To Each Other Results In Up To 5 Years Of Prison, $500k Fine

from the it-was-just-a-joke,-guys dept

Insane legal actions over relatively mild pranks are coming fast and furious these days. We just recently discussed the 17 years old high school girl staring down felony charges over a childish year book prank. There have also been several cases of those that fall victim to pranks turning to intellectual property law as a way to hide their gullibility. There's something -- embarrassment perhaps -- that spurs victims into unreasonable legal action once the trap has been sprung.

And now we can add to that list the case of Joshua Barber and Nicholas Kaiser, who are looking at up to 5 years in prison and/or a half-a-milliion dollar fine for the crime of getting two NFL general managers to talk to each other on the phone and recording the conversation. Their prank consisted of calling the office of Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix, claiming to be Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik, hanging up, then dialing Dominik. The confused Nix called back using the redial function on his phone (many, many times), and the pranksters finally called Dominik as well, just as Nix called them back, hit the conference button, joined both GMs on the line and recorded the ensuing conversation. It's worth noting that conversation was about as innocuous as it gets. No real embarrassment was to be had from the recording, which was then sold to Deadspin. The result of the prank is far less innocuous.
[The] two Plymouth, Mass. men were charged Wednesday with intentionally intercepting a wire communication and with making a telephone call without disclosing their identity with the intent to annoy or harass the person at the called number. The complaint further states that after the conversation was recorded, Barber and Kaiser sold the unauthorized recording to the website If convicted, Barber and Kaiser face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $500,000 fine or both.
And yes, here are your tax dollars at work, with the FBI/DOJ gloating about taking those darn prank callers off the street and ruining their lives with extended jail time and fines. Half a million and half a decade in jail for a prank phone call? Shall I assume The Jerky Boys are currently dropping soap in barred showers, or is the safer assumption that someone in the legal system sees this high-profile prank as a way to further their career?

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  1. icon
    Wally (profile), 30 May 2013 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Adults see the harm; Timmy only giggles with the 14-year-olds.

    No you should not be arrested for buzzer hands, whoopy cushioning someone's chair, or pinning a teacher's chair. You are making a scare crow straw man argument (if I only had a brain...).

    Your examples do not require illegal means to achieve. Wiretapping is illegal. So is recording a conversation that publicly humiliates an identifiable person or persons without their knowledge and consent. Motor-mouthing is not illegal...nor is crank calling someone as long as the person or persons you cranked stay anonymous if the recording is publicly released.

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