Pay Phone Owner Sentenced for $2.4 Million Scam
HOUSTON - A 61-year-old Friendswood man has been ordered to federal prison for mail and wire fraud and money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. David Grudzinski pleaded guilty April 13, 2018.
Today, U.S. District Judge Sim Lake handed Grudzinski an 18-month term of imprisonement. In handing down the sentence, Judge Lake noted it was a sophisticated fraud but took into consideration Grudzinski’s lack of criminal history. Grudzinski will be required to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.
Grudzinski owned approximately 450 pay phones in the Houston area. At the time of his plea, Grudzinski admitted to running a scam to unlawfully obtain payments from the owners of toll-free numbers for calls to his pay phones.
Using specialized software, he caused his phones to robotically dial toll-free telephone numbers assigned to various federal and state government agencies as well as other private entities. As a result, Grudzinski fraudulently-obtained $.494 per such call from 2005 through July 10, 2015.
Because of his scheme, Grudzinski collected over $2.4 million in fraudulently-obtained payments during that timeframe.
Grudzinski was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The General Services Administration - Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI and IRS - Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case.