Twin brothers from Miami, Florida, have been sentenced to 52 months in prison for defrauding more than $2 million worth of Apple merchandise by tricking AT&T customers into their private cell phone accounts.
In response to information from court records, Luis Hernandez Socarras and Jorge Hernandez Socarras, 27, accessed approximately 2,366 AT&T cell phone accounts between February 2018 and January 2020. The couple fraudulently charged buyers for new Apple products, including iPhones and Apple Watches, and then resold them at discounted prices throughout Miami. The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed the decision in a news conference on Monday.
In response to the press conference, Luis and Jorge Socarras debited $2,155,483.78 from the victim’s account. In April, they each pleaded guilty to two counts of inbound gadget fraud, interstate transfer of stolen property and aggravated identity theft. The brothers were also ordered to pay $360,937 in damages, the publication added.
Socarras referred to AT&T customers and warned that their accounts had been compromised, in line with the press release, posing as cell phone service provider staff and asking the customer to provide his or her account password to resolve the issue.
They then registered as licensed customers on the customer’s AT&T account and made fraudulent purchases at many retail stores in the United States. According to court records, the brothers purchased Apple merchandise in 26 states for specific individual buyer account fees ranging from $359.99 to $1,899.99 per transaction.
In January 2020, law enforcement became aware of several fraudulent purchases made by the Socarras brothers at the Greatest Purchase retail store in northern Ohio, consistent with court filing information. Police finally arrested Luis Socarras on January 26, 2020, on charges of price gouging at the Greatest Purchase in Mayfield Heights, asking how he knew the AT&T account holder he was trying to prosecute. Jorge Socarras released bail for his brother and the pair left the area.
Police later obtained a search warrant to find Luis Socarras’ car, which was left in the Greatest Purchase car park. Police searched the car and found 29 iPhones, six iPad Professional tablets and three Apple Watches, as well as various digital products.
The Sokras brothers were eventually arrested in March 2021.
The twins’ plan “changed their lives” at age 85, according to one AT&T buyer, in the district court complaint, written by 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler.
“My doctor[d] Tell me the irritating state of affairs, the troubles my family and I have to endure is affecting my health,” the consumer said, matching the court filing. “I sincerely hope these people go to jail for a long time. “
The Cleveland FBI is investigating an identity theft case, according to a DOJ launch.
Information week Contact the Department of Justice for comment.
Florida twins stole Apple merchandise for $2 million