The first individual ever charged with hacking into the networks of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and reselling hacked VoIP services for a profit was sentenced today to 120 months in prison, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Edwin Andres Pena, 27, transmitted over 10 million minutes of unauthorized telephone calls over the victims’ networks.
Pena, a Venezuelan citizen, fled the United States after his arrest in 2006. The ensuing chase across South and Central America ended on February 6, 2009, when Pena was apprehended in Mexico. Following his extradition to the United States, Pena pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud on February 3, 2010.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: Pena was the mastermind behind a scheme to defraud VoIP telephone service providers, purporting to be a legitimate wholesaler of Internet-based phone services and selling discounted service plans to his unsuspecting customers. He 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 sold more than 10 million minutes of Internet phone service to unknowing 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. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)