Former Mobile Phone Store Owner Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Multimillion-Dollar Scheme to Illegally Unlock Cellphones
U.S. Attorney's Office Central District of California
LOS ANGELES – A former owner of a T-Mobile retail store in Eagle Rock was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison for his multimillion-dollar scheme in which he stole T-Mobile employee credentials and illegally accessed the company’s internal computer systems to illicitly “unlock” and “unblock” cellphones.
Argishti Khudaverdyan, 44, of Burbank, was sentenced by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who also ordered him to pay $28,473,535 in restitution.
Khudaverdyan ran a multi-year scheme that illegally unlocked and unblocked cellphones, which generated tens of millions of dollars in criminal proceeds. During this time, most cellphone companies – including T-Mobile – “locked” their customers’ phones so they could be used only on the company’s network until the customers’ phone and service contracts had been fulfilled. If customers wanted to switch to a different carrier, their phones had to be “unlocked.” Carriers also “blocked” cellphones to protect consumers in the case of lost or stolen cellphones.
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