Bad Call: Man Admits To Cell Phone Scheme That Allowed Fraudulent Calls To Caribbean

cell-phone-fraud

Under the scheme, the fraudster transmitted thousands of international calls to Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and other countries with high calling rates.


FLORIDA, United States, Monday September 12, 2016
– An American man has admitted to multiple offences in connection with a sophisticated global cell phone fraud scheme that involved hijacking cellphone customers’ accounts and “cloning” their phones to make fraudulent calls to Caribbean countries.

Under a plea deal, 37-year-old Edwin Fana admitted 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. He also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

According to the plea agreement, Fana 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.  Fana admitted that the conspirators then trafficked in the cellphone customers’ telecommunication identifying information, using that data as well as other software and hardware to reprogram cellphones that they controlled to transmit thousands of international calls to Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and other countries with high calling rates.  The calls were billed to the victims’ compromised accounts.

Fana’s role in the scheme included operating a “call site” in his residence in Miami Gardens.  He would receive telecommunication identifying information associated with victims’ accounts from his co-conspirators and use that data to re-program cellphones that he controlled.  According to the plea agreement, Fana’s co-conspirators would then transmit international calls over the internet to Fana’s residence, where he would route them through the re-programmed cellphones.

When the FBI executed a search warrant at Fana’s residence, approximately 88 cellphones were discovered connected to networking equipment and actively routing calls.

Law enforcement seized nearly 11,000 telecommunications identifying numbers from him and the scheme caused at least US$1 million in losses.

Fana was charged along with two others in July this year.

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