Three defendants were charged in federal court last week for their role in a global telecommunications fraud conspiracy that compromised mobile phone users’ accounts and cloned their cell phones to make unauthorized illegal international calls.
The Department of Justice reports that Ramon Batista, 49, of Orlando, Florida; Edwin Fana, 36, of Miami Gardens, Florida; and Jose Santana, 52, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., were each arraigned in U.S. District Court in Southern Florida, in relation to an FBI-led anti-telecom fraud campaign dubbed Operation Toll Free. The charges included wire fraud; access device fraud; the use, production or possession of modified telecommunications instruments; aggravated identity theft and more.
According to the DoJ, the three defendants allegedly stole and trafficked victims’ telecommunications account information and used that data to clone cell phones that sent out thousands of international calls that were billed to victims’ accounts. They also used the reprogrammed phones to run an illegal call termination business.