Charleston County Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Wire Fraud
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — Amir Golestan, 40, of Charleston, was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud.
Evidence presented to the court showed that Golestan operated a company, Micfo, LLC, that represented itself as providing hosting services and providing customers with technologies and services needed for a website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. As part of its business, Micfo applied and registered for IPv4 addresses through the American Registry of Internet Numbers (“ARIN”).
IPv4 addresses are numerical labels assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet for communication. ARIN is a nonprofit organization that administers IP address rights, allocations, and transfers in the United States, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. To obtain an IP address allocation from ARIN, an entity has to provide a need-based justification. As ARIN’s pool of IPv4 addresses has depleted, a secondary market has developed where prices for a single IPv4 address have increased dramatically.
After Micfo no longer qualified to procure additional IPv4 addresses based on ARIN’s policies and procedures, Golestan created fake companies, which he referred to as “Channel Partners,” to procure them. Through the Channel Partners, Golestan made fraudulent representations to ARIN, and ARIN relied on those misrepresentations in granting the Channel Partners rights to IPv4 addresses.
Golestan made over $3 million selling rights to those IPv4 addresses on the secondary market before his fraudulent scheme was caught.
“Like many corporate wrongdoers, Amir Golestan tried to obscure his criminal conduct by using fake companies and complex transactions,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office stands ready to unwind these schemes and prosecute those who exploit critical technologies to line their own pockets. We are grateful to the FBI and to ARIN for their assistance in holding Golestan accountable.”
“Golestan’s criminal activities caused significant harm to his customers who put their trust in his hands,” said Paul “Reid” Davis, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office. “His betrayal of that trust is being met by the weight of justice with this sentence. The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to investigating and dismantling fraudulent schemes designed to take advantage of critical technologies.”
United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Golestan to 60 months in prison, to be followed by a 2-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. The court also ordered restitution be paid to ARIN in the amount of $76,978.25.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy F. Bower is prosecuting the case.
Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney, firstname.lastname@example.org, (803) 929-3000