Man who unlocked nearly 2 million AT&T phones gets 12 years in prison

Man who unlocked nearly 2 million AT&T phones gets 12 years in prison


Man who pleaded guilty in a phone-unlocking case sentenced to prison | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A man who the Department of Justice says unlocked AT&T customers’ phones for a fee was sentenced to 12 years in prison, in what the judge called “a terrible cybercrime over an extended period,” which allegedly continued even after authorities were on to the scheme.

According to a news release from the DOJ, in 2012, Muhammad Fahd, a citizen of Pakistan and Grenada, contacted an AT&T employee via Facebook and offered the employee “significant sums of money” to help him secretly unlock AT&T phones, freeing the customers from any installment agreement payments and from AT&T’s service.

Fahd used the alias Frank Zhang, according to the DOJ, and persuaded the AT&T employee to recruit other employees at its call center in Bothell, Washington,…

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