Threat Management

Man gets 18 months in prison for accessing Subway POS devices, loading up gift cards


A California man was sentenced last week for remotely accessing point-of-sale (POS) machines that he sold to Subway restaurant franchises, and loading at least $40,000 onto gift cards – which were later used or sold.

Shahin Abdollahi, who operated under the name Sean Holdt, was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison with two years supervised release, and also must pay $34,712 in restitution, according to a Department of Justice release.

Abdollahi pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud.

Abdollahi owned and operated Subway restaurant franchises in Southern California for roughly three years beginning in 2005, and during that time gained experience with Subway POS systems and gift cards, according to an indictment filed in March 2013.

Around March 2008, Abdollahi started a company called “POS Doctor” – through which he sold and occasionally installed new and refurbished POS systems to businesses across the country – and sold POS systems to as few as 13 Subway restaurants, including one in Massachusetts, the indictment indicates.

Most or all of the POS machines were loaded with a remote desktop application known as “LogMeIn,” according to the indictment.

Beginning in 2011, Abdollahi, along with co-conspirator Jeffrey Wilkinson, used LogMeIn – typically in the early morning hours – to access the POS devices and load up funds onto Subway gift cards, the indictment indicates. In the end, the loads totaled at least $40,000.

“Abdollahi and Wilkinson used fraudulently loaded gift cards at Subways in California,” according to the indictment. “Wilkinson sold fraudulently loaded Subway gift cards to buyers who were usually in Southern California. He advertised discount gift cards on websites such as eBay and Craigslist and then hand-delivered the fraudulently loaded cards to his buyers.”

Wilkinson, also of California, pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme in February, and in May was sentenced to six months in prison, according to the release.

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