Eight people have been indicted for a clever sting in which two mobile phone retailers fraudulently obtained over $22m (£13m) worth of wireless devices from AT&T and T-Mobile.
The indictment (PDF) states that two of the accused are owners of mobile phone retail shops - Got Wireless (also known as USA Wireless) in New York and KP Wireless in West Palm Beach, Florida - and used their access codes to the T-Mobile and AT&T databases to steal customer details.
A series of 'mules' were then hired to call T-Mobile and AT&T and ask for replacement phones, claiming that their existing models were defective or had been lost. When the replacement handsets arrived they were sold in the two shops.
The team also used the customer information to order new phone lines.
If convicted the eight accused face 20-year sentences, and the two shop owners face a possible extra two years for identity theft.
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