News and Press Releases

SEATTLE MAN SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY TO STEAL AND SELL CELLULAR PHONES
Former Cingular Wireless Employee Abused Internal Product Ordering System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2007

KEVIN MICHAEL DALE, 30, of Seattle was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and Computer Fraud, and one count of Computer Fraud. DALE, a former employee at the Cingular Wireless store at Pacific Place Mall in Seattle, used an internal ordering system to steal 598 cellular phones worth more than $336,000. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly told him you “cannot describe this as a mistake.... You stole this money for your own personal gain.”

According to records filed in the case, DALE conspired with another Cingular employee, Jessica Spears, to order cell phones using a special computer terminal at the Pacific Place store. The computer would place the order with the Cingular warehouse in Texas. DALE made it appear the orders were coming from some of Cingular’s corporate customers. The system allowed employees to reduce the cost of the phone to the corporate account to zero, thereby allowing DALE and Spears to conceal their fraudulent activities. Between early 2005 and September of 2005 DALE and Spears ordered 598 phones and personal data devices on the corporate accounts without the account holder’s permission. DALE had the devices shipped to several private mailboxes he had opened in the Seattle metropolitan area. Then DALE and Spears sold the phones to other people often using the internet. The phone purchasers obtained cell service through a variety of companies.

The scheme was uncovered when another Cingular employee with responsibility for a corporate account noticed that a large number of phones had been ordered for the account without his knowledge. DALE told investigators he had entered into the scheme to fund his real estate development company. As part of the case the government seized a 2006 Range Rover SUV and an investment account as the proceeds of the crime. DALE was ordered to pay $336,924 in restitution to Cingular Wireless.

“This was not a mistake, not a mishap,” Assistant United States Attorney Jim Oesterle said. “This is like walking into a business and stealing $335,000.”

DALE told the judge, “I can’t explain why I did it. No amount of money is worth what I have gone through and the loss of freedom in the future.”

DALE pleaded guilty November 1, 2006. Spears pleaded guilty October 30, 2006 and will be sentenced on March 15, 2007.

The case was investigated by the U. S. Secret Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Oesterle.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206) 553-4110.

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