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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 21, 2014

Former Subway Franchise Owner Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Gift Card Hacking Scheme at Subway Restaurants

A California man was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison with two years supervised release, and ordered to pay $34,712 in restitution, today for remotely hacking into the computerized cash registers of Subway restaurants and fraudulently obtaining more than $40,000 in gift cards. 

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts and Resident Agent in Charge Holly Fraumeni of the U.S. Secret Service in Manchester, New Hampshire, made the announcement.  U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns of the District of Massachusetts imposed the sentence.  

Shahin Abdollahi, aka Sean Holdt, 46, of Lake Elsinore, California, pleaded guilty on May 14, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.

In connection with his guilty plea, Abdollahi admitted that he owned Subway franchises in Southern California, and later operated a California company called “POS Doctor,” which sold and installed point-of-sale (POS) computer systems to Subway franchises around the country.  POS systems are a type of computerized checkout register that allow merchants to manage customer purchases made by credit, debit and gift cards.

Abdollahi further acknowledged that, beginning in 2011, he and Jeffrey Wilkinson conspired to remotely hack into the POS systems he installed in Subway franchises around the country.  Members of the conspiracy hacked into at least 13 Subway POS systems and fraudulently added at least $40,000 to Subway gift cards.  Abdollahi acknowledged that he and Wilkinson used the fraudulent gift cards to make purchases at Subway, and Wilkinson also sold fraudulent gift cards on eBay and Craigslist.

Wilkinson, 37, of Rialto, California, also pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme, and was sentenced to six months in prison on May 28, 2014.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, and is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam J. Bookbinder of the District of Massachusetts.

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Updated November 21, 2014