Dallas Woman Pleads Guilty to Indictment - Admits Making Harassing Phone Calls to University and Municipal Police Departments
DALLAS — A Dallas woman appeared in federal court this morning and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney to a three-count indictment alleging she made harassing telephone calls to university and municipal police departments throughout the U.S. and Canada to falsely report she was a purported victim or purportedly injured, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Tameira Janell Smith, 23, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to three counts of making harassing telephone calls. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. Restitution could also be ordered. Sentencing is set for October 21, 2016, before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn.
Smith, who is now in custody, was arrested on October 13, 2015, and she was released on supervised pretrial release. On June 24, 2016, the government filed a motion for detention and a hearing was held on June 30, 2016. The court found she had violated her conditions of pretrial release by committing a crime while on release.
According to the order entered after that hearing, Smith was required to obtain mental health treatment and to not commit any new crimes as part of the conditions for her release. At that hearing, however, an emergency room nurse testified that in early June 2016 she was asked to assist two other nurses with an uncooperative and difficult patient, Smith, who was about to be admitted. Smith refused to change into the hospital scrubs as required for admission, and based on her conduct, the hospital’s police department was contacted. As the nurses tried to change her clothes, and when this nurse removed Smith’s headband, Smith struck this witness nurse in the chest, injuring her and causing her to lose her balance. Smith was then found to have a razor blade hidden in her hair. Smith has been charged at the state for assaulting the nurse.
The detention order further states that Smith has been in and out of treatment several times during her pretrial release, and her behavior as described by the nurse witness at the hearing is consistent with the testimony at Smith’s initial detention hearing in October 2015. The detention order further states that Smith continued to place first responders and medical personnel at risk.
According to the indictment and factual resume filed in the case, from approximately May 7, 2015, and continuing to approximately October 1, 2015, Smith made a series of at least 15 contacts with university and municipal police departments falsely in the U.S. and Canada reporting she was a purported victim, or purportedly injured. She would not give her name or even provide a false name when contacting police. Upon receiving the calls, the police departments responded as if a true emergency existed by deploying emergency personnel and vehicles, including police cruisers, fire trucks, and ambulances.
Many times, Smith was not injured nor even in the area where she reported the false emergencies to police dispatchers. In some of the later instances, however, Smith staged a scene, called police, and waited for emergency personnel to arrive.
Throughout the scheme, Smith used a telecommunications device and software that allowed her to transmit originating phone numbers that were not her own, thereby concealing her identity and location.
The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Walker is in charge of the prosecution.