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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 12, 2016

New York Men Sentenced for Using or Trafficking in an Unauthorized Access Device and Aiding and Abetting

United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that two New York men convicted of Using or Trafficking in an Unauthorized Access Device and Aiding and Abetting were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Wilton Santana, age 20, and Charlie Aquino, age 22, were each sentenced to 24 months in custody, followed by 2 years of supervised release, $7,726.94 in restitution, joint and several with their co-defendants, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Santana and Aquino were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 15, 2014, and both pled guilty to Count 1 of a 9 count Superseding Indictment.

The convictions arose from activities that occurred between June 23, 2014, and July 5, 2014, when Santana, Aquino, and Francis Frias knowingly used “account takeovers” — posing as established AT&T customers who wanted to upgrade by adding new lines or phones to their existing cell plans.  Frias and his co-defendants were provided confidential subscriber information while they were outside an AT&T store. Before Santana, Aquino, or Frias went into an AT&T store, someone else had already called into AT&T and added one of the three of them as an authorized user to the original AT&T customer’s account.  Once the cell phones were purchased, Frias mailed them to addresses provided by another individual.  The three men were to be paid for each phone they purchased and shipped.

On July 5, 2014, a traffic stop was conducted on Interstate 90 in Jones County.  Santana, Aquino, and Frias, all from New York, were in the vehicle.  The vehicle was a rental and was due back in Colorado on June 24, 2014.  A probable cause search was conducted and a white plastic bag with 14 brand new, in-the-box Apple 5s iPhones were found in the trunk, along with receipts from an AT&T Store in Pierre, South Dakota.  The names on the receipts did not match any of the three individuals in the vehicle.

This case was investigated by the Office of Attorney General, Division of Criminal Investigation; the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service; and the South Dakota Highway Patrol.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller prosecuted the case.

Santana and Aquino were immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.  Frias began serving his sentence in June of 2015.

Component(s): 
Updated May 12, 2016