Extradited VoIP hacker sentenced to 10 years

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The mastermind behind a scheme to hack into internet phone networks and resell services for a profit was sentenced Friday to 10 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey announced.

Edwin Pena, 26, of Venezuela, was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution for the conspiracy, prosecutors said Friday in a news release. Pena operated two companies that offered wholesale internet-based phone services for heavily discounted rates. Instead of purchasing voice over internet protocol (VoIP) routes to resell, he hacked into the networks of legitimate VoIP service providers and routed his customers' traffic through the hacked networks.

“Hackers attacking new and emerging technologies should not assume that law enforcement cannot keep up with them, even when they operate from the shadows or from other countries,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, said in a statement.

Pena was originally arrested for the hacking scheme in June 2006, but after his arrest, he posted bail and fled the country to avoid prosecution. After a three-year manhunt, Pena was apprehended last year in Mexico and extradited to the United States where he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. 

Pena sold more than 10 million minutes of unauthorized telephone calls and caused more than $1.4 million in damages in less than a year, prosecutors said. To disguise the money he obtained from the conspiracy, he purchased real estate, new cars and a 40-foot motor boat.

U.S. District Judge Susan Wigeton said Pena will be deported following the conclusion of his sentence.

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