Comcast Bills Lowered $2.4 Million By Scammers
Two men pleaded guilty to a scam that lowered the bills of 5,790 Comcast customers in Pennsylvania by a total of $2.4 million. They now face prison time and will have to pay the money back to Comcast.
Thirty-year-old Richard Justin Spraggins of Philadelphia pleaded guilty in February and was “ordered to make $66,825 in restitution and serve an 11- to 23-month sentence,” the Times-Herald reported at the time.
Scaggins was called the second-in-command of the operation. The alleged ringleader, 30-year-old Alston Buchanan, pleaded guilty last week. “Buchanan faces up to 57½ to 115 years in prison, although Buchanan will likely serve a lesser sentence than the maximum,” the newspaper reported.
At this point no sentence has been determined; the judge will decide how long Buchanan will spend in prison and how much he’ll have to pay back. “Comcast lost $2.4 million and it will be up to the judge to see how much the defendant will be required to pay back,” said prosecutor Jeremy Lupo.
“According to the affidavit of probable cause, Buchanan bought the login identification from a Comcast employee and was able to login to the system remotely and change the accounts to lower monthly bills,” the Times-Herald wrote.
Customers saved an average of $414 in exchange for paying the scammers $75 to $150.
Comcast reported the scam to police in April 2012 after it had been running for a year. “Investigators were able to make contact with someone known as ‘Nick’ who told them to deposit money into a bank account. The bank account was Buchanan’s,” the newspaper wrote.
Police searched Buchanan’s apartment and found ledgers filled with customer information, along with $100,000 in cash.