AT&T, T-Mobile scammed out of $22 million dollars in handset scam

AT&T, T-Mobile scammed out of $22 million dollars in handset scam
Gabe Beizem, the owner of a former AT&T and T-Mobile dealership in Brooklyn, and Rohan Stewart, a T-Mobile dealer in West Pal Beach, were indicated along with 6 others on charges of conspiracy and mail fraud. The eight scammed AT&T and T-Mobile out of $22 million dollars in bogus handset sales. U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell did not mince words about the indictment, "The type of fraud alleged in the indictment strikes at the very heart of our modern digital economy and imposes substantial costs on commercial businesses. It is a serious problem that requires serious action."

According to the prosecutors, Beizem, Stewart and the other six defendants used dealer access codes to obtain customer information from AT&T and T-Mobile databases. They then took over the identity of existing customers to get handsets without paying for them. In a statement, T-Mobile said it would make sure that impacted customers would be notified and given the appropriate credit if warranted. Customers affected by the crime will get free credit monitoring services from the carrier. AT&T said that it is cooperating with the investigation and has added more security safeguards to protect customer information. Both carriers recently received awards from earlier and separate scams. T-Mobile received a final judgment and permanent injunction in March against unauthorized firms that were reselling and trafficking in pre-paid T-Mobile phones and accessories. In July, AT&T was awarded judgments of $3 to $5 million dollars in each of four federal lawsuits involving illegal trafficking in AT&T's pre-paid phones and accessories. All we can add is that the defendants should be glad that they do not live in Somalia. If you missed our earlier story on the punishment in that country for stealing a cellphone, let's just say that it might have cost them an arm and a leg.

source: WSJ
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