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A Man Accused of Bribing AT&T Employees to Unlock More Than 2 Million Cellphones

The US Justice Department says it has deported a Pakistani man from Hong Kong and arrested him of bribing the AT&T employees to unlock more than 2 million cellphones.

Muhammad Fahd (34) professedly committed the crimes as part of a scheme that unlocked and resold stolen iPhones.

Supposedly a phone is unlocked, it can be used on different carriers, not only AT&T. That could be very beneficial for a criminal enterprise. For instance, an unlocked iPhone XR is currently selling for $749. If it is related to the phone network’s plan, clients pay a portion of that value within the form of monthly installments. By unlocking telephones connected to AT&T and removing them from their service plans, the conspiracy effectively values the company higher than $9.5 million, prosecutors say.

AT&T said in an announcement that the corporate has “been working closely with law enforcement since this scheme was revealed to bring these criminals to justice and are pleased with these developments.”

Fahd bribed “impressionable” AT&T staff to unlock long lists of phones, according to court documents. Finally, after some of the team who labored with Fahd have been fired, he allegedly persuaded some remaining co-conspirators to develop and set up malware within the company’s system that would enable him to unlock phones remotely.

The malware used valid AT&T community credentials that belonged to co-conspirators and others, without authorization, to interact with AT&T’s internal a protected computer network and course of automated unauthorized unlock requests offered from an external server, the indictment mentions.

In transaction for their help, the AT&T workers allegedly received a total of greater than $1 million in bribes. More than 2 million phones had been unlocked due to the conspiracy, according to the citation.

Fahd’s alleged scheme started later April 2012, according to the indictment, and lasted about five years.