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Verizon Tech Given 4-year Federal Prison Sentence For $4.5M Equipment Scam 163

McGruber writes "Michael Baxter, the network engineer at the southeastern regional headquarters of Verizon Wireless who submitted hundreds of fraudulent service requests to Cisco, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Baxter was also ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to Cisco Systems, and $462,828 in restitution to Verizon. Instead of placing the replacement parts into service in the Verizon Wireless network, Baxter took the parts home and sold them to third-party re-sellers for his own profit. He used the money to buy cars, jewelry and multiple cosmetic surgeries for his girlfriend."
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Verizon Tech Given 4-year Federal Prison Sentence For $4.5M Equipment Scam

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  • Re:Company Liable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:26PM (#41552189)

    Cisco isn't suing anyone. This schmuck was prosecuted under Federal Wire Fraud charges. The fines constitute restitution.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:26PM (#41552195) Journal

    ...incidentally, I don't mean the theft part, which is pretty dumb on its own. What I mean is, he should have been socking that money into Cayman Island accounts (or maybe Venezuelan bank accounts and such), then get out of dodge once he hit the $2m mark or so. Get enough scratch and live in a 3rd-world country that doesn't do extradition, and you can get an entire flock of local women instead of having to throw a ton of money on just one.

    Then again, dunno how much money he himself got, as the $4.5m figure could be what Cisco values the parts to be, which given Cisco's pricing could be as little as three fans and a 6509 power supply w/ SmartNet support. :p

    I am curious as to WTF these guys think when they start pulling stunts like this, however. I mean, if you're gonna flirt with PMITA Prison time, you'd best be damned smart about it, do at least some research, and get your shit planned in advance...

  • Re:Crime pays (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:28PM (#41552213) Journal
    Id rather be poor and free. 4 years of life is a very long time to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:44PM (#41552393)

    Threatening someone else's life at gunpoint in 60 seconds is completely different than stealing $2.8 mil over the span of a decade.
    But I think you're seeing in terms of theft of $20 vs. $2.8 mil.

    I think terrorizing someone else is worth at least several thousand dollars in therapy. For some people it takes years to trust another human being again. Others never recover. But if you're a tough guy, you can carry on like it's no big deal. For Sprint and Cisco, $2.8 mil is a drop in their financial bucket.

  • Re:Crime pays (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:45PM (#41552405)
    And yet you are likely to give up far more than 4 years of your life for far less money.
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:45PM (#41552423) Journal

    If he'd held up a convenience store he could easily have gotten 7 mandatory or more

    If he had been the company president and a big political contributor, some poor tech way down the ladder would be facing charges instead. If he was a higher up at Goldman Sachs, he would be given a cabinet position at the white house.

    The guy committed fraud, hardly worth locking him up. Just take his property and garnish his income for the rest of his life, or until the money is paid back.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:58PM (#41552555) Homepage Journal

    Federal != "white collar". Minimum security == "white collar". My friend's brother got a ten year sentence in Federal prison for loaning money to a dope dealer (as did half his HS graduating class; dealer got busted and set up everyone he knew whether or not they'd ever had anything to do with drugs, dope dealer spent 2 year in Club Fed). Mike's brother was out in five years, and his life was completely ruined. He was a diesel mechanic who worked on big rigs, but of course lost his job. His wife met another man while he was in prison and divorced him. So he's now unemployable and single with few prospects of ever having another woman.

    "Chickenshit sentence"? I hope I've left you a little less ignorant.

  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:23PM (#41552769) Homepage

    but of the people I know have been through a robbery in most cases it was so quick that beyond the initial moment of shock it's not something that affects their day to day lives

    You're experiencing selection bias. It's hard to meet people who have been killed in robberies.

    If you cause a violent confrontation, there is real risk someone gets seriously hurt or killed. They could certainly be injured in a manner that costs society far more than $2.8 million in medical treatment costs over the life of the victim.

    If you steal some equipment, there's a financial loss, but no one is going to get hurt.

    Discouraging people from creating violent situations is far more important than discouraging people from stealing from companies with insufficient controls.

    I'm far more worried about a guy who might point a gun at my head when I'm trying to pick up some milk than I am a guy who is going to steal some hardware when I'm not looking.

  • If you have an extra $10,000, buy your girlfriend new boobs.

    If you have an extra $1,000,000, get a hotter girlfriend.

  • by yurtinus ( 1590157 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:13PM (#41553181)

    People with philosophy degrees flipping burgers for example.

    I don't understand how this qualifies as underemployed...

  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:31PM (#41553317) Journal

    If you steal money, you can be ordered to pay restitution. (Granted, I doubt Baxter will be able to pay that kind of fine.) If you kill someone, you can't unkill them.

  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:03PM (#41553533) Homepage Journal

    Well, if a piece of Cisco network equipment goes down that is covered contractually, they must ship a replacement. With a company as huge as Verizon, there are parts being shipped out *all* the time, and defective parts shipped back *all* the time. If you have 30 days to ship parts back, and the parts don't come back, the procedure is to initiate emails, then escalate from there. Quite often, Verizon gets involved trying to track down the missing parts, trying to solve the mystery - and never is able to resolve the issue until they see a pattern emerge and start to investigate.

    The problem is that when conducting business, you must assume that your counterpart is working with you in good faith. In this instance, you have a man-in-the-middle who is transacting the business and defrauding both parties. It takes some time to find that 'leak', especially when you are doing billions a year in network gear, and RMA's of 10's of millions, and this person is doing fraud in the range of 100k+/yr. Then the person doing the fraud is using disposable phones, disposable numbers, and so tracing the fraud down after-the-fact is even more difficult.

  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:16PM (#41554759) Homepage

    I'll take zero violence and double property theft any day of the week.

    You can always buy more stuff. Death is permanent.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.