Farintong Calderon, 37, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; access device fraud; the use, production or possession of modified telecommunications instruments; and the use or possession of hardware or software configured to obtain telecommunications services.
According to the plea agreement, Calderon and his co-conspirators participated in a scheme to steal access to and fraudulently open new cellphone accounts using the personal information of individuals around the United States.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Calderon formerly worked for Verizon Wireless, installing cellphone towers and equipment.
After leaving his employer, the DOJ said Calderon moved to New York City and became involved in the fraud scheme as a “line” supplier.
Specifically, the DOJ said Calderon provided his co-conspirators with telecommunications identifying information, associated with the accounts of customers of Verizon and other wireless companies.
It said Calderon’s co-conspirators would then transmit thousands of international calls over the Internet, through the re-programmed cellphones, to Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and other countries with high calling rates.
The calls were billed to the customers’ compromised accounts, the DOJ said.
In addition, Calderon admitted that, from about 2010 to 2013, he sent or received emails to co-conspirators with at least 1,408 combinations of telecommunication identifying information for specific cellphone devices or accounts belonging to persons around the United States, and was personally responsible for at least US$250,000 in loss resulting from the scheme.
The DOJ said Calderon is the third defendant to plead guilty in the case. Edwin Fana and Jose Santana previously pleaded guilty to similar charges in this matter.
Fanais scheduled to be sentenced on December 22, while Santana is scheduled to be sentenced on January 4, 2017.
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