Twenty south Florida residents charged In wire fraud scheme involving Verizon and AT&T customer data

Twenty individuals have been charged with varied counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. And from the description provided, it sounds like bad actors at Verizon and AT&T may have been part of the scheme, although I suppose it’s possible that they could have obtained account information some other way. 

According to the indictment, between August 2012 and July 2013, A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, and Dume, secured and caused other co-conspirators, including Labrador, Limbacher, and Gallardo, to secure the personal identification information (PII) of cellular telephone subscribers, including those of Verizon and AT&T. The customers’ PII included the customer’s name, cellular telephone number, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security Number. A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and their co-conspirators, then made and caused to be made telephone calls to Verizon and AT&T, in order to use the unlawfully acquired PII, to add additional users on the existing, legitimate customer accounts, in order to purchase subsidized telephones (iPhones), without the customers’ knowledge and authorization. The retail price for each cellular telephone was approximately $550.00 to $649.00. Customers, and their authorized users, were entitled to purchase the cellular phones at a discounted price of approximately $200.00. A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and others, recruited into the scheme various individuals who served as “runners”, who having been fraudulently added as purported “authorized users” on the existing, legitimate accounts of Verizon and AT&T customers, purchased cellular telephones (iPhones) at discounted prices. These purchases were made in the Southern District of Florida, as well as other locations in Florida, California, and Nevada.

Marrero, Labrador, Navarro, Gallardo, K. Gonzalez, Custodio, Basanta, J. Gonzalez, Garcia, Rivas, Cisneros, Guerrero, Reyes, Alvarez, Jimenez, Limbacher and Aquit served as “runners” for the fraudulent scheme. The runners would deliver their purchases to A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and others, and be paid approximately $100.00 for each fraudulently acquired telephone. As a result of the scheme, the conspirators enriched themselves from the profits and payments, while the cellular telephone providers, Verizon and AT&T, would incur a loss based on the difference between the retail price and the subsidized cost or discounted price.

During the course of the scheme, 860 Verizon customer accounts were fraudulently accessed, and individuals, including the co-conspirators, were added as authorized users on existing customer accounts, in order to purchase cellular telephones at a discounted price. Approximately 1,249 cellular devices (telephones) were fraudulently purchased. As a result of the fraudulent scheme, Verizon incurred a loss of more than $545,500.

Those charged are Alexander Nicholas Katsabanis Jr, 23,Dimitris Nicholas Katsabanis, 25, Christian Fernando Dume, 32, Christine Eliz Marrero, 24,Javier Osvaldo Labrador, 26, Dietter Navarro, 32, Yurien Martinez Gallardo, 34, Keilyn Nicole Gonzalez, 21, Felix Marino Garcia Custodio, 32, Desiree Marie Basanta, 29, Jonathan Gabriel Gonzalez, 24, Jade Amber Garcia, 27, Melissa Rivas, 25, Dominga Ivett Guerrero, 50,Johan Alvarez, 20, Gustavo Andres Jimenez, 26, Daniel Allen Limbacher, 31, all of Miami, Noel Sebastian Cisneros, 23, of Homestead, Mirelys Reyes, 19, of Hialeah, and Yasael Aquit, 29, of Tampa.

An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida


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