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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 15, 2016

Defendant Receives Lengthy Sentence for Cell Phone Insurance Fraud

ATLANTA - Laquitta S. Brackins has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud by defrauding a cell phone insurance provider.  Brackins, along with a co-conspirator, filed thousands of false insurance claims on cell phones that did not belong to them and received over $1.6 million worth of cell phones from those claims.

“Cell phone insurance fraud drives up costs for all cell phone consumers,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “These defendants submitted thousands of fraudulent claims in the hope they could profit before anyone noticed.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: Brackins and co-conspirator Nicholas L. Johnson defrauded Asurion Protection Services, LLC, and its cellular service provider clients, by submitting fraudulent cell phone insurance claims. Together, they obtained over $1.6 million worth of cell phones. 

As part of the conspiracy, Brackins recruited cell phone subscribers from the Atlanta area and also traveled out of state to find individuals willing to allow her to use their cell phone contracts in her scheme.  The defendants also used false identification documents and forged cell phone bills to file fraudulent claims with Asurion.  Under Asurion’s insurance program, subscribers receive replacement phones to replace lost or stolen phones covered by the insurance.  Brackins was linked with over 3,600 fraudulent submissions and she received over 2,900 phones as a result.  After the defendants received the fraudulent phones, they and others involved in the scheme sold the phones to electronic wholesalers in the Atlanta area.  Once she was indicted, Brackins fled and lived under false names at various hotels.  She continued the scheme, having fraudulently obtained phones sent to her at the hotels.   

Laquitta S. Brackins, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones to seven years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,617,629.  Brackins was convicted on these charges on April 19, 2016, after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as to substantive mail and wire fraud counts. 

Judge Jones previously sentenced Nicholas L. Johnson, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, on March 29, 2016, to one year, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $191,093.  Johnson was convicted of these charges on January 4, 2016, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as to substantive mail and wire fraud counts.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Huber and Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane C. Schulman prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated July 15, 2016