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Bill Would Increase Penalties For 'Swatting' Calls

SACRAMENTO (AP) — People who make fake 911 calls would be subject to paying the costs of mobilizing emergency responders under a bill that is close to passing the state Legislature.

The Assembly on Monday approved SB333 by Sen. Ted Lieu, which would add a fine of up to $10,000 to cover the costs of the emergency mobilization.

Under current law, the misdemeanor penalty for making a false 911 call is $1,000 and up to a year in county jail. The crime becomes a felony if someone is injured.

The problem has been especially acute in the Los Angeles area, where fake 911 calls to the homes of celebrities have become common. The practice is referred to as "swatting" because SWAT units sometimes have to be called.

The bill returns to the Senate for concurrence before being sent to the governor.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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