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Pennsylvania man gets 2 years in theft of 900 cellphones

A Pennsylvania man who formerly worked for Verizon has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to the theft of 900 cellphones and accessories in a Newark, New Jersey federal court. The 35-year-old man will also be under supervised release for two years after he completes his prison term and must pay restitution of $303,623. The sentence was announced on June 24.

During his time as an account manager for Verizon in Trevose, the man placed orders in the names of Verizon customers and then diverted the orders to the home of a relative in New Jersey. According to the U.S. attorney in the case, the man would then sell the cellphones and accessories on eBay. He allegedly stole 900 cellphones and accessories and made more than $270,000 through the online sales. The man ultimately pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud charges. The U.S. attorney alleged that the man concealed the diverted shipments by manipulating Verizon's computer systems.

The two years that the man in this case received are far short of the maximum penalty that he could have received. A conviction on federal mail fraud charges is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment as well as significant fines.

In a case similar to this one, a criminal defense lawyer might attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney. A plea bargain might permit a defendant to serve a far lesser sentence than he or she might face in the event of a conviction by jury trial.

Source: Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code ยง 1341 - Frauds and swindles," Aug. 13, 2013

Source: Reuters, "Pennsylvania man sentenced for selling $270,000 in stolen phones", June 24, 2014

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