Man gets 5 years in prison for ‘global cell phone fraud scheme’
A Florida judge slapped a former state resident with a 65-month prison sentence Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to charges linked to a phone cloning ring.
Braulio De la Cruz Vasquez, 54, was part of a “sophisticated global cell phone fraud scheme” that stole access to people’s accounts and fraudulently opened new ones using their personal information, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
He set up a “call site” in his West Palm Beach home and used the stolen data to re-program phones he controlled, the department said.
From there, De la Cruz’s co-conspirators (four of whom have already been sentenced) would make international calls via the internet and he’d route them through the cloned phones — making the people whose information had been stolen foot the bills, according to the plea agreement.
He admitted that his partners sent him around 2,158 numbers owned by US phone account holders between 2011 and 2013 and that he got tens of thousands of dollars from at least one Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company for routing international calls, the DOJ noted.
De la Cruz is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and was extradited from that country to face the charges. He was charged with three counts of fraud, two related to illegal telecom device use and one for identity theft.