WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – Federal prosecutors charged nine people with fraud and aggravated identity theft in a $15 million cell phone cloning scheme. All nine worked for “a national cell phone service provider” and used its computers to get confidential information about “thousands of customers,” which they used more than 16,000 times, according to the complaint.
“The customer information that they obtained was used to create ‘clones’ of the customers’ cell phones,” the U.S Attorney’s Office said in announcing the arrests of eight defendants. One remains at large.
“These cell phone clones were then used to make unauthorized calls, which usually began just days after one of the defendants accessed the defrauded customer’s account,” prosecutors said. “The cell phone clones were used to make approximately $15 million worth of calls, including a large volume of international calls. The cell phone company has credited its defrauded customers for the value of these calls.”
The men worked at the unidentified cell phone company’s stores in the Bronx, Bergen, N.J., and Tampa, Fla.