(WASHINGTON) Justice Dept Court Report: Fraudster sentenced to 12yrs-in-prison over AT&T Unlocking Scheme that defrauded an estimated $200-million #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Sept.19: Beginning in 2012, Fahd, 35, conspired with others to recruit AT&T employees at a call center located in Bothell, Washington, to unlock large numbers of cellular phones for profit. Fahd recruited and bribed AT&T employees to use their AT&T credentials to unlock phones for ineligible customers. Later in the conspiracy, Fahd had the bribed employees install custom malware and hacking tools that allowed him to unlock phones remotely from Pakistan. In September 2020, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

#AceDailyNews reports that the overall loss to ‘AT&T Estimated’at more than $200 Million: Muhammad Fahd, a citizen of Pakistan and Grenada, was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for his leadership role in a seven-year scheme to unlawfully unlock nearly 2 million phones to defraud AT&T Inc. (AT&T), inflicting more than $200 million in losses.

At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik for the Western District of Washington noted that Fahd had committed a “terrible cybercrime over an extended period,” even after he was aware that law enforcement was investigating.

Cellular phones such as iPhones cost hundreds of dollars. To make the phones more affordable, during the relevant time, AT&T subsidized the purchase cost of phones or sold phones to customers under installment plans. Unlocking a phone effectively removes it from AT&T’s network, thereby allowing the account holder to avoid having to pay AT&T for service or to make any payments for purchase of the phone.

According to records filed in the case, in approximately June or July of 2012, using the alias “Frank Zhang,” Fahd contacted an AT&T employee through Facebook. Fahd offered the employee significant sums of money if the employee would help Fahd secretly unlock phones at AT&T. Fahd also asked the employee to recruit other AT&T employees to help with the unauthorized unlocks.

Fahd instructed the recruited employees to set up fake businesses and bank accounts for those businesses, to receive payments and to create fictitious invoices for every deposit made into the fake businesses’ bank accounts to create the appearance that the money was payment for genuine services.

In the spring of 2013, AT&T implemented a new unlocking system that made it more difficult for the bribed employees to unlock IMEIs for Fahd. In response, Fahd hired a software developer to design malware that could be installed without authorization on AT&T’s computer system to unlock phones more efficiently and in larger numbers. At Fahd’s request, the employees provided confidential information to Fahd about AT&T’s computer system and unlocking procedures to assist in this process. Fahd also had the employees install malware on AT&T’s computers that captured information about AT&T’s computer system and the network access credentials of other AT&T employees. Fahd provided the information to his malware developer, so the developer could tailor the malware to work on AT&T’s computers.

AT&T’s forensic analysis shows the total number of cellular telephones fraudulently unlocked by members of the scheme was 1,900,033 phones. AT&T has further determined that the loss it suffered because customers, whose cellular phones were illegally unlocked, failed to complete payments for their cellular telephones was $201,497,430.94.

Judge Lasnik ordered restitution of $200,620,698. (The difference between this amount and the total loss reflects restitution ordered against bribed AT&T employees in related prosecutions.)

Fahd was indicted in 2017 and arrested in Hong Kong in 2018. He was extradited and appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle in August 2019. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September 2020.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Seattle field office of the U.S. Secret Service, IRS-CI and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Friedman and Francis Franze-Nakamura of the Western District of Washington and Senior Counsel Anthony Teelucksingh of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Sept.19: 2021:

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#att, #doj, #fraud, #jailed, #washington

Obama administration moves to virtually kill the internet?

I have left some hyperlinks in, this is disgusting, again, all about money! Say goodbye to your last freedom USA!

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014– Reports have been circulating that the Obama administration is trying to destroy the internet by killing off net-neutrality. In order to see if the claims check out, you need to meet Tom Wheeler. Just who is Tom Wheeler? If you credit Kathleen Sebelius with the death of the American healthcare system, you could soon credit Wheeler with the death of the internet, or at the very least, as we know it to be now. The Obama administration’s supposed plan is an innate result of crony corporatism and could well be their next big lie.

In November, 2013, President Obama appointed Wheeler to head-up the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). First, never mind that Wheeler raised more than $700,000 for Obama’s two elections.

Second, never mind that 2007 presidential candidate Obama made a solemn promise to protect internet neutrality while visiting Google headquarters in California.

“We have to ensure free and open exchange of information. That starts with an open internet. I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality. Because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose. The internet is perhaps the most open network in history, and we have to keep it that way.”

That promise is starting to sound a lot like Obama’s, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.” You know, the promise that won PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. Considering the current moves, the administration’s audacity to leave this net-neutrality campaign video posted on their official YouTube account is astonishingly insulting to proponents of net-neutrality.

Finally, never mind that Wheeler is a former cable and internet lobbyist giant. You know, one of those lobbyists that candidate Obama swore to never hire if he was elected. For decades, Wheeler is credited with lobbying for “deregulation” of the industry.

Is it not peculiar Obama would tap a man, the very man that supposedly wanted to deregulate the cable and internet industry, to lead the massive federal bureaucracy that regulates that very industry?

It’s not as strange as one may think. Two types of “small government” lobbyists exist. One truly wants the government out of everything. The other uses the government to deregulate his own business, while simultaneously lobbying for regulation or unfair disadvantages on competitors, which is often done under the guise consumer protectionism, or blatant corporate protectionism [

So, what is net-neutrality or “open internet”? In layman’s terms, net-neutrality is actually a government regulation pressed on internet service providers (ISPs). The regulation seeks to ensure that all ISPs enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and do so without favoring or blocking particular websites and products.

When approached from an economic vantage point, net-neutrality, in its most basic definition, actually inhibits the ISP free-market.

In most cases, those in favor of small government and free-markets would likely champion such deregulation. Meanwhile, those in favor of market regulation point to fears of censorship.

For example, an ISP like Comcast could limit its end-user subscribers’ ability to access BenSwann.com if it wanted to increase traffic (revenue) to a news website the company owned (MSNBC), or it could begin downgrading BenSwann.com’s connection quality if a friendly competitor like TheBlaze.com was willing to pay higher fees to knock out the competition.

The question we must ask is as follows: Does this deregulation actually move towards a more free marketplace? In this case, probably not. These corporatist giants have used the government to secure no bid contracts, geographical subscriber exclusivity and more. The companies are now formed into a government sponsored quasi-monopoly. This is corporatism- not free-market capitalism.

Last January, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FCC could not regulate net-neutrality. According to the Court plurality, the FCC lacked “regulatory jurisdiction” under the provided framework. Appellant Verizon seems to win the day. Net-neutrality is dead.

However, the Court left a loophole by stating that the FCC could rewrite the rules under a more acceptable framework.

“I intend to accept that invitation by proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how Internet Service Providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition,” Wheeler said in a statement. “Preserving the Internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency.”

But wait, isn’t Wheeler against net-neutrality and in favor of helping his old employers out? That’s what many headlines are reporting, and here is where things get confusing.

If one was to read the Verizon v. FCC case, it seems as though the FCC was trying to protect net-neutrality all along, and the Court ruled in favor of the corporations instead. Obama’s promise upheld. Right? After all, the administration can’t necessarily control what the Court says.

However, the Court gave the FCC the go-ahead to write rules under a new framework. Rather than continue and try to protect net-neutrality, reports now insinuate that the administration will re-write the rules to instead favor the giant ISPs Wheeler lobbied on behalf of for decades.

It is possible that the Verizon v. FCC case was a test case. Many such cases have been brought forth throughout the history of the federal judiciary. The goal of a test case is to figure out just what will be tolerated and in what way. Sometimes we know immediately whether or not a case is a test. However, it sometimes takes decades until such cases are exposed. In most all cases, the federal Court system now creates new tests, frameworks, and alternative ways for which a law or rule could be considered constitutional, or in this instance, within regulatory jurisdiction. This is one way the Court illegally legislates from the bench. The goal of such a test case could have been to get the Court to define ways to incorporate corporate protectionism into the FCC rules. Of course, at this time, this is only speculation. However, it would help to explain what happened next.

According to multiple reports, the FCC is playing a game of Orwellian semantics. While the commission maintains it is protecting net-neutrality, the reports show the new rules could kill net-neutrality by allowing ISPs to create a “fast lane internet”. The possibility of fast lane internet being incorporated into the new FCC rules validates the concerns of net-neutrality proponents.

Although the Court has already ruled that the FCC could not enforce net-neutrality, it seems as though Wheeler’s FCC is now attempting to use the Court’s new framework to write such protection into the actual FCC rules. This could allow ISPs an added layer of protection by throwing the weight of federal regulation on top of the Court’s ruling.

The new rules won’t be fully released until mid-May. For now, all is speculation.

Meanwhile, to fill in the gaps while we wait for new rules to be fully released, one should follow the money.

COMCAST

Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO, is good friends with Obama. He is regularly invited to the White House and has been golfing with Obama. In fact, Roberts even served on Obama’s jobs council. Comcast Vice President David Cohen has raised more than $2.2 million for Obama’s elections since 2007. Since 2008, Comcast has spent more than $91.2 million lobbying the government. Of course, it probably doesn’t hurt that Comcast is the parent company of the hard left-leaning Obama mouthpiece known as NBC Universal which operates the MSNBC cable news station.

TIME WARNER CABLE (TWC)

In 2008, TWC donated $618k to Obama’s election. In 2012, they donated $422k. Since 2008, TWC has spent more than $25.5 million lobbying the government.

VERIZON

In 2008, Verizon donated more than $218k to Obama’s campaign. In 2012, Verizon donated $224k to Obama’s reelection campaign. Since 2008, Verizon has spent more than $97 million lobbying the government.

AT&T

In total, At&T has given Obama more than $484k for his two elections. The company has spent more than $30 million lobbying the government since 2008.

COX ENTERPRISES

In 2008, Cox donated $64k to Obama’s campaign. In 2012, the group donated more than $47k. Since 2008, the group has spent more than $28 million lobbying the government.

Together, these five companies represent the top five ISPs in the country. They also represent Obama’s top donors. With Wheeler driving the FCC and Obama’s top campaign donors pulling the puppet strings, it is hard to imagine the administration actually fighting to maintain net-neutrality.

Government sanctioned neutrality is parallel to government sanctioned equality. Backlash and economic dead weight loss are the byproducts of such interference. With the ensuing death of net-neutrality, many are asking a similar question. Will it kill the internet? Doubtful. However, the government sponsored ISP quasi monopoly makes it too soon to tell.

#att, #comcast, #cox-enterprises, #fcc, #money-reasons, #no-freedom-online, #obama, #obama-administration, #pipa, #president-obama, #sopa, #tom-wheeler, #verizon, #virtually-kill-the-internet