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Published On: Tue, Apr 30th, 2019

Online Gamer, Michael Dunaway Sentenced to 18 Months for Threatening Messages

U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Michael Dunaway, age 59, of Hamilton, Virginia, today to 18 months in federal prison, after Dunaway pleaded guilty to sending messages threatening acts of violence to employees of an online gaming company based in Lutherville, Maryland.

The guilty plea and sentence were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department.

photo/ Olichel Adamovich

According to his plea agreement, an online gaming company based in Lutherville, Maryland launched a combat strategy game entitled “DomiNations.”  DomiNations is a massive multiplayer online game in which players build a base nation containing different types of buildings and resources and build and train an army to defend the nation and attack other nations to collect resources.  Players can enhance their playing experience by purchasing certain resources.

In early April 2018, Dunaway contacted the online gaming company through the DomiNations game’s help and service application to address issues he had experienced while playing the game.  Starting on April 17, 2018, however, Dunaway changed his behavior from complaining about the game to threatening acts of violence against employees at the company.  Between April 17 and July 26, 2018, Dunaway sent at least 14 messages threatening to kill company employees or kill others.  The threatening communications resulted in a substantial disruption of the company’s business functions and services.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys John W. Sippel, Jr. and Michael Goldsticker, who prosecuted the case.

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