A Tomball man was recently sentenced to three years of probation, after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting device fraud in federal court.
Troy Alexander Tipton, 21, was charged, after federal prosecutors said he sold Spring cellular phone customer data and access information to another man. Tipton was an employee of Modern Wireless at the time. Tipton pleaded guilty to the charges last August.
Prosecutors said that Tipton sold data from at least 400 customer accounts to Vernon R. Parker of Houston, from April through October of 2011. Parker then directed Lakreshia Shana Smith, 28 and Frederick Sears, 38, both of Houston, to make claims for replacement or additional cell phones using the stolen accounts.
Sears and Smith were arrested after U.S. Secret Service agents followed them around the Houston area and observed them picking up packages containing the cell phones.
"The conspirators had placed phone and internet orders for either replacement phones, or additional phones to be charged to unknowing customers of Sprint," U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson's office said in a statement. "The packages were mailed from Sprint locations outside of Texas to various hotels and apartments as directed by the conspirators. The total loss to Sprint is estimated at more than $136,000 attributable to the Parker organization."
Smith was given probation by Judge Lee Rosenthal, while Sears was ordered to serve 18 months in federal prison. Parker, the ring leader of the group, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised parole.
Parker will remain in local custody until he is transferred to a federal prison in the near future.