18 South Florida Residents Sentenced for Their Role in Accessing AT&T and Verizon Subscriber Accounts with Stolen Personal Identifying Information to Purchase iPhones
Eighteen South Florida residents were sentenced in connection with their role in a scheme that used fraudulently obtained personal identifying information (PII) of AT&T and Verizon mobile telephone plan subscribers to purchase iPhones as a discounted rate. Three of the individuals sentenced stole the PII from their respective employers, including Verizon.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Paula A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), and J.D. Patterson, Jr., Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement.
Between August 2012 and July 2013, Alexander Nicholas Katsabanis, Jr., 23, Dimitris Nicholas Katsabanis, 25, and Christian Fernando Dume, 32, each of Miami, secured and caused co-conspirators, including Daniel Allen Limbacher, 31, Yurien Martinez Gallardo, 34, and Jade Amber Garcia, 27, all of Miami, to secure the PII of mobile telephone plan subscribers, including subscribers with AT&T and Verizon. In particular, Gallardo, who worked for Verizon, Limbacher, who worked for Cellular Sales, and Garcia, who worked for Baptist Hospital, stole from their respective employers PII that was used to facilitate the fraudulent scheme. The customers’ PII included the customer’s name, mobile telephone number, date of birth, and last four digits of such customer’s Social Security Number.
After obtaining the PII, A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and their co-conspirators, called, or caused others to call, AT&T and Verizon, and used the unlawfully acquired PII, to add additional users on the existing, legitimate customer accounts without the customer’s knowledge or authorization. These individuals also used the PII to purchase iPhones at a discounted price of approximately $200.00, which discount was only available to customers and their authorized users. The retail price for each iPhone ranged from $550.00 to $649.00.
A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and others, also recruited various individuals to serve as “runners.” These “runners” were added as purported “authorized users” on the existing, legitimate accounts of AT&T and Verizon subscribers, and also purchased iPhones at discounted prices. The purchases were made in the Southern District of Florida, as well as, other locations in Florida, California, and Nevada. Christine Eliz Marrero, 24, Dietter Navarro, 32, Keilyn Nicole Gonzalez, 21, Felix Marino Garcia Custodio, 32, Desiree Marie Basanta, 29, Jonathan Gabriel Gonzalez, 24, Dominga Ivett Guerrero, 50, Melissa Rivas, 25, Johan Alvarez, 20, Gustavo Andres Jimenez, 26, Javier Osvaldo Labrador, 26, each of Miami, Florida, Mirelys Reyes, 19, of Hialeah, Florida, Yasael Aquit, 29, now of Tampa, Florida, together with Garcia and Limbacher served as “runners” for the above-described fraudulent scheme. The runners would deliver their purchases to A. Katsabanis, D. Katsabanis, Dume, and others, and were paid approximately $100.00, for each fraudulently acquired iPhone.
During the course of the scheme, approximately 860 Verizon customer accounts were fraudulently accessed in order to purchase approximately 1,200 iPhones at a discounted price. As a result of the scheme, Verizon incurred a loss of more than $400,000 based on the difference between the retail price of the iPhone and the discounted price allowed to its subscribers.
Judge Scola imposed the following sentences:
D. Katsabanis was sentenced 60 months imprisonment; A. Katsabanis Jr. was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment; Dume was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment; Navarro was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment; Limbacher was sentenced to 12 months and one day imprisonment; Marrero was sentenced to two years of probation; Labrador was sentenced to six months imprisonment; K. Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 days imprisonment and two years of probation; Custodio was sentenced to eight months imprisonment; Basanta was sentenced to one year of probation; J. Gonzalez was sentenced to two months imprisonment and two years of probation; Rivas was sentenced to one year of probation; Guerrero was sentenced to two years of probation; Alvarez was sentenced to 10 days imprisonment and two years of probation; Jimenez was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment and two years of probation; Reyes was sentenced to two years of probation; Aquit was sentenced to one year of probation and four months home confinement; and Gallardo was sentenced to four months imprisonment, to be followed by four months of home confinement.
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on January 21, 2015, at 8:30 a.m., before Judge Scola.
Noel Sebastian Cisneros, 23, of Homestead, Florida, who was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his role in this scheme as an alleged runner, is scheduled to commence trial before Judge Scola, on March 9, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the USSS and MDPD Economic Crimes Bureau. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah J. Schall.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.