CINCINNATI — A New York man was sentenced to 37 months in prison for cyberstalking a Cincinnati woman for five years after meeting her through online gaming.
Michael Chan, 35, of Bayside, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott on Tuesday, after she had previously rejected an earlier plea deal in which Chan would have served less prison time.
Chan made harassing phone calls and sent emails to his young victim, opened credit cards in her name, applied for a loan in her name, sent her packages, made bomb threats, and claimed someone would “shoot faculty and staff” at the University of Cincinnati and rape the woman, according to court documents.
Chan first met his victim through a World of Warcraft gaming group in 2009. She befriended him and in the spring of 2012, when she was then 21, and invited him to her home in Hamilton where she lived with her family.
He stayed for a week, but she made it clear to him, “that they were nothing more than friends,” according to court documents.
Chan showed up at her home a second time, uninvited, in August 2012 and persuaded the woman to let him stay.
The next month the woman invited another World of Warcraft friend to her home. When Chan found out he became very upset, according to his criminal complaint.
“Chan began to text (her) and call her at all hours of the day and sent her messages on Facebook,” FBI agent Donald Minnich wrote in the August 2017 criminal complaint.
“Around Thanksgiving 2012, the harassment became so bad that (she) had to block Chan’s number on her phone and unfriend him on Facebook. (She) continued to receive anonymous calls and texts through the end of 2012,” he wrote.
Magazine subscriptions and pizza deliveries began arriving at her house in her name.
When she complained to Hamilton police and a detective contacted Chan about the behavior, pizzas began arriving at the Hamilton Police Department. The pizzas had been ordered from an email address that had been masked with the Tor network.
Chan, who is described in court documents as being lifelong unemployed and whose only income was $350 a month from his parents, used Tor computer software to mask his identity.
When the woman began attending UC, she received threats in 2014 through her student email account.
In February 2015, WLWT-TV received an email saying the writer was driving from Canada to sexually assault and murder the woman. The woman’s social security number, date of birth and address were included in the email.
When the victim changed her email address, Chan began contacting her sister in an attempt to reach her.
At one point, Chan sent an email to several UC students claiming to be the victim’s ex-boyfriend and that he was trying to get in touch with her to let her know he had tested positive for HIV, according to the complaint.
“The subject then began to send emails to the University of Cincinnati Police Department and the Cincinnati Police Department, stating that if they did not have (victim) contact him someone would be down to shoot up the campus. The subject also made bomb threats via email,” Minnich wrote in the criminal complaint.
In August 2016, the victim and her sister began receiving packages from Amazon for special occasions such as their birthdays.
In February 2017, a UC police lieutenant sent a text message to Chan, asking him to call. In March, the lieutenant received a text message on that cellphone, which only had been used to contact Chan.
It said the person was “coming to pay U” and the woman “a visit.”
“Can u stop me?”
During 2017, UC police and high level officials continued to receive harassing emails.
“The subject describes how on August 13, 2017 he was going to arrive at (victim’s) address to rape and kill her. The subject also stated that he would kill family members that might be with her. The subject also emailed various local media outlets stating his plan,” Minnich wrote. “An email was sent each day to (UC police) in which a countdown clock for the days leading up to August 13, 2017 were displayed.”
Precautions were put into place to assure the victim and her family were “out of harm’s way,” documents state.
Agents arrested him at his New York home on Aug. 23, 2017.
After Chan is released from prison, he will spend three years on supervised release and be restricted from using the Internet except for school purposes. He must also participate in a mental health program.