US Man Made $25 Million By Unlocking Smartphones With Stolen Passwords
A former owner of a T-Mobile store in the US, guilty of using stolen credentials to unlock “hundreds of thousands of cellphones”, made around $25 million from the illegal scheme.
According to the US Department of Justice, Argishti Khudaverdyan, 44, has been found guilty by a jury to enrich himself by stealing T-Mobile employee credentials and illegally accessing the company’s internal computer systems to illicitly “unlock” and “unblock” cellphones.
Khudaverdyan ran a multi-year scheme that illegally unlocked and unlocked cellphones, which generated approximately $25 million in criminal proceeds.
He and others compromised and stole more than 50 different T-Mobile employees’ credentials from employees across the US, and unlocked and unblocked hundreds of thousands of cellphones during the years of the scheme, the Justice Department said in a statement late on Tuesday.
From August 2014 to June 2019, Khudaverdyan fraudulently unlocked and unblocked cellphones on T-Mobile’s network, as well as the networks of Sprint, AT&T and other carriers.
Removing the unlock allowed the phones to be sold on the black market and enabled T-Mobile customers to stop using T-Mobile’s services and thereby deprive T-Mobile of revenue generated from customers’ service contracts and equipment installment plans.
Khudaverdyan advertised his fraudulent unlocking services through brokers, email solicitations, and websites such as unlocks247.com.
He falsely claimed the fraudulent unlocks that he provided were “official” T-Mobile unlocks.
Khudaverdyan is facing at least two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, and up to 165 years for the counts related to wire fraud, money laundering, and accessing a computer without authorisation.