Charges: Reporter spoofed Gov. Noem’s phone number to make prank call

Austin Goss, a reporter for Dakota News Now, faces one count of permitting threatening or harassing phone calls, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Business man with smartphone mobile and laptop notebook computer.
Business man with smartphone mobile and laptop notebook computer in network social digital online connect to data concept.
issaronow -

FORT PIERRE, S.D. — A South Dakota political reporter was arrested after law enforcement said he spoofed Gov. Kristi Noem’s phone number to prank call a former political official.

Dakota News Now capitol bureau reporter Austin Goss was charged Thursday, May 4, with one count of permitting threatening or harassing phone calls. The Stanley County Sheriff’s Office said Goss was released on a personal recognizance bond.

According to court documents, Goss used a prank call website, PrankDial, to make a phone call to former South Dakota GOP executive director Dan Lederman in January. The call spoofed Noem’s number, making it appear as though she was the one calling.

The call involved a pre-recorded audio set of a man accusing the call’s recipient of stealing vaccines from the man’s basement. In the call, the voice speaks lines such as “I’m not messing with you, man, you better start talking,” “oh, you think this is funny?” and “you best quit messing with me.”

Court documents say authorities were able to trace the calls to an IP address at Goss’ home in Fort Pierre through the use of subpoenas.


Though Lederman is only identified in court documents as D.L., he confirmed to the Argus Leader on Thursday that he was the recipient of the call.

Goss has worked as a reporter with Gray Television, parent company of Dakota News Now, since June 2020. Court documents indicate that it’s believed he had the personal cellphone numbers of Noem and Lederman through his work.

The charge Goss faces is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,000. An initial appearance has been scheduled for May 23.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What To Read Next
Get Local