Nine Former Cell Phone Company Employees with Stealing Customer Information in $15 Million Cell Phone Cloning Scheme (updated)

Nine people, all former employees of a national cell phone service provider, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft for their alleged roles in a $15 million cell phone cloning scheme.

The charges, which were unsealed today, were announced by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Brian Parr, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service.

According to the complaint, from at least January 2010 through June 2010, the nine defendants worked for an unnamed national cell phone service provider, with two of them working in New York, four working in New Jersey, and three working in Tampa, Florida. During this time period, the defendants used the company’s computer network to obtain confidential information about the cell phones of thousands of customers without authorization. Together, the nine defendants accessed customer accounts over 16,000 times without authorization.

The customer information that they obtained was used to create “clones” of the customers’ cell phones. 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. The cell phone clones were used to make approximately $15 million worth of calls, including a large volume of international calls. The company has credited its defrauded customers for the value of these calls.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

Update: Some media sources subsequently identified the company as Sprint, who has reportedly confirmed that it was their company.

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