Cellular fraud is a serious matter in the United States, as one Edwin Fana recently found out the hard way. Last Thursday, this 37-year-old received a four-year prison sentence for admitting to conspiracy to commit fraud, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, and wire fraud. For several years, Fana was involved in an international cellular phone scheme which involved cloning of people's phones and using them to make fake international calls. The verdict was made by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida after Fana already pleaded guilty to all of the charges back in late July.
Back in 2009, Fana established Super Telecom, a Miami Gardens-based company started for the sole reason of helping him put his scheme into motion. Fana continued his fraudulent activities until late 2012 when the FBI raided his home and put a stop to the operation. To that date, Fana's actions resulted in at least $1,095,600 in fraudulent charges to wireless carriers. In fact, the actual figure is probably much larger as this conservative estimate was calculated by multiplying the number of lines stolen by Super Telecom with $100 in fraudulent charges. The CEO of Super Telecom was indicted alongside two of his co-conspirators, Ramon Batista from Orlando and Jose Santana from Royal Palm Beach.
Fana's part in the scheme was to run a call center and illegally acquire phone account information. Once he managed to reprogram someone's device, he'd forward that information to Batista and Santana who would then use it to make international phone calls. Among other countries, the conmen made calls to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, and other countries that are expensive to call from the United States. Once the affected cellular phone carriers would connect these calls, Fana, Batista, and Santana would profit from payments made to service providers whose calls were routed without paying the actual cost of completing those calls. Luckily, most of the affected customers whose phones were cloned as a part of this scheme did not suffer any financial damages and those who did will be reimbursed. Finally, seeing how Fana has no previous criminal record, it's likely he'll be out on parole before 2020.