A former mobile store owner made an estimated $25 million by unlocking T-Mobile phones using stolen credentials. He now faces a possible prison sentence of up to 165 years…
The Justice Department said Argishti Khodavirdian ran the scheme for nearly five years before he was arrested.
A former owner of a T-Mobile retail store in Eagle Rock has been found guilty by a jury on 14 federal criminal charges over his $25 million plan to enrich himself by stealing a T-Mobile employee’s credentials and illegally gaining access to the company’s internal computer systems Illegally. Today, the Ministry of Justice announced the “unlocking” and “unblocking” of mobile phones.
Argishti Khodavirdian, 44, of Burbank, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit internet fraud, three counts of electronic fraud, two counts of accessing a computer to defraud and obtain value, and one count of intentionally gaining access to a computer without permission to obtain it. information, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, five counts of money laundering, and one case of aggravated identity theft.
The fraud started when Khudaverdyan owned a T-Mobile store, and used his credentials to provide an unlocking service in contravention of the company’s policies. Later, he used phishing and social engineering techniques to get new credentials.
From January 2017 through June 2017, Khodavirdian and his former business partner were co-owners of Top Tier Solutions Inc. , which is the T-Mobile store in Eagle Rock Plaza. However, after T-Mobile terminated Khudaverdyan’s contract in June 2017 based on his suspicious computer behavior in connection with unauthorized cell phone unlocking, Khudaverdyan continued the scam.
To gain unauthorized access to T-Mobile’s protected internal computers, Khudaverdyan obtained the credentials of T-Mobile employees through various dishonest means, including sending phishing emails that appeared to be legitimate correspondence from T-Mobile, And the social engineering of the T-Mobile IT help desk. Khudaverdyan used fraudulent emails to trick T-Mobile employees into logging in with their employees’ credentials so that he could collect employee information and fraudulently unlock phones.
Working with others in external call centers, Khodavirdian also received the credentials of T Mobile employees which he then used to access T-Mobile’s systems to target higher-level employees by collecting personally identifiable information for those employees and contacting the T-Mobile IT help desk to reset Employee company passwords, giving him unauthorized access to T-Mobile systems allowing him to unlock and unblock cell phones.
Finally, Khudaverdyan and others breached and stole the credentials of more than 50 different T-Mobile employees across the United States, unlocking and unblocking hundreds of thousands of cell phones during the years of the scheme.
While unlocking phones under carrier contracts may be seen as relatively harmless, unlocking lost and stolen phones plays an important role in encouraging future thefts. The crime was revealed through a multi-agency investigation.
The United States Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud Task Force (CFTF) in Los Angeles and the IRS Western Region Cyber Crime Unit investigated the matter.
The Department of Justice has listed potential prison sentences for each crime, and the edge It is noted that they add up to a maximum of 165 years.
Khudaverdyan faces at least two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, and up to 165 years on charges related to electronic fraud, money laundering and unauthorized computer access. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 17.
Photo: Alexander Andrews/Unsplash
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