Amadou Dia was recently arrested for participating in an international telecommunications fraud scheme, which used stolen identity information to activate fraudulent mobile phone accounts. These accounts were used to make calls to fraudulent overseas telephone numbers, which charged a rather large connection fee.
Over 1,000 identities were compromised in this scheme, with nearly half belonging to members of the U.S. military, and mobile providers including AT&T and T-Mobile (News - Alert) lost around $8 million.
Dia participated in this identity theft and international telecommunications scheme from 2001 to 2013, obtaining stolen information – including names, dates of birth and social security numbers — with his co-conspirators, and then activating fake cellular service accounts with this information. With the accounts activated, Dia and the other members of the fraud ring would create SIM cards, then used them to call international numbers they controlled to generate fees.
The charges for these numbers were often as much as one dollar per minute, which would be charged to U.S. cellular providers. Because the numbers used were registered to identity theft victims, these U.S. providers were forced to foot the bill. The international carrier involved provided a share of the fees to the holders of the fraudulent numbers, believed to be members of the fraud ring.
Dia, who lives in Manhattan, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, and one count of aggravated identity theft. The first two charges have a combined maximum sentence of 35 year in prison, while the latter carries a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised the Secret Service and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) for its outstanding work on this case, also thanking AT&T (News - Alert) and T-Mobile USA for their cooperation in the investigation.
In related news, three foreign nationals recently faced criminal charges from their involvement with a computer virus called the Gozi virus, which infected over a million computers worldwide and stole millions of dollars from infected users.
Earlier this month, Microsoft and Symantec helped disrupt the Bamital global cyber crime operation, working with federal marshals to shut down servers used to control infected computers.
Edited by Rich Steeves