FBI: Computer Hacker Fugitive Apprehended and Indicted for Fraud that Victimized Phone Service Providers
A Miami man charged in 2006 with secretly hacking into the computer networks of unsuspecting Internet phone service providers was indicted today by a federal grand jury, Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra announced.
The indictment of Edwin Andres Pena follows his apprehension on Feb. 6 in Mexico, where he now is in custody and awaits extradition. Pena has been a fugitive since posting bond and fleeing prosecution after his arrest in June 2006 in Miami.
Pena, 26, was indicted on fraud and computer hacking charges for his role in a scheme to defraud Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service providers. Pena, who purported to be a legitimate wholesaler of these Internet-based phone services, allegedly sold discounted service plans to his unsuspecting customers. The Indictment alleges that Pena was able to offer such low prices because he would secretly hack into the computer networks of unsuspecting VoIP providers, including one Newark-based company, to route his customers’ calls.
Through this scheme, Pena is alleged to have sold more than 10 million minutes of Internet phone service to telecom businesses at deeply discounted rates, causing a loss of more than $1.4 million in less than a year. The victimized Newark-based company, which transmits VoIP services for other telecom businesses, was billed for more than 500,000 unauthorized telephone calls routed through its calling network that were “sold” to the defendant’s unwitting customers at those deeply discounted rates, according to the Indictment.
Pena, 26, a permanent legal resident of the United States of Venezuelan origin, allegedly enlisted the help of others, including a professional “hacker” in Spokane, Washington. The hacker, named in the Indictment as Robert Moore, 24, pleaded guilty in the District of New Jersey on March 7, 2007, to federal hacking charges for assisting Pena in this scheme. Moore was sentenced to 24 months in prison on March 8, 2008, and is currently incarcerated. Moore admitted at his plea hearing to conspiring with Pena and to performing an exhaustive scan of computer networks of unsuspecting companies and other entities in the United States and around the world, searching for vulnerable ports to infiltrate their computer networks to use them to route calls.
Pena was first charged on June 6, 2006, in the District of New Jersey in a criminal Complaint that set forth the scheme described in today’s indictment. He was arrested on that Complaint on June 7, 2006, and released the next day on $100,000 bail set by a federal magistrate judge in Florida. Pena appeared in Court in New Jersey on June 29, 2006, and on approximately Aug. 12, 2006, Pena allegedly fled the country to avoid prosecution. He was apprehended by Mexican authorities on Feb 6, 2009, and is currently being held in Mexico on the District of New Jersey’s charges. The United States intends to seek extradition.