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20 Charged In South Florida Cell Phone Fraud Scheme

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iPhone with iOS 7. (Source: CBS4)

iPhone with iOS 7. (Source: CBS4)

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged 20 people allegedly involved in a fraud scheme involving cell phones in South Florida.

An indictment returned Friday charges that the group obtained information on legitimate cell service subscribers. They then used that information to add additional users to the legitimate accounts, entitling them to buy additional phones at a discount.

The retail price for the phones ranged from $550 to $649. Prosecutors say the scheme allowed the group to purchase phones for about $200. The ringleaders employed runners to purchase the discounted phones and paid them $100 for each phone purchased.

Investigators say 860 Verizon customer accounts were fraudulently accessed and more than 1,200 phones purchased in the scam. Verizon’s loss was estimated at $545,500.

Charges include wire fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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