Two men purchased the phones at a discount by using false identities to sign up for two years of phone service. They planned to take the cheap phones to New York City and sell them for a profit.
From the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas:
Paul Alfredo Jiminez, 20, and Juan G. Pichardo-Lopez, 25, are charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count each of aggravated identity theft. The crimes are alleged to have occurred March 19, 2010, in Johnson County, Kan.
The two men initially were charged in a criminal complaint filed June 15, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. The complaint alleges Jiminez and Pichardo-Lopez were arrested March 19, 2010, when Overland Park Police officers were called to a report of a suspicious vehicle parked near a jewelry store in the 6600 block of West 135th Street. When officers talked to Pichardo-Lopez, he told them he was waiting on a friend who was in the AT&T store not far away. While officers were talking to him, they noticed several cell phones sitting on the passenger seat of his car.
Investigators subsequently learned that Pichardo-Lopez and Jiminez had devised a scheme to purchase Apple phones from AT&T at reduced prices by using false identities to sign up for two years of phone service. Then they would take the phones to New York City and sell them at a profit.
If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each wire fraud count and a mandatory two years consecutive to other sentences and a fine up to $250,000 on each identity theft count. The Overland Park Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley is prosecuting.
| Bob Cronkleton