9 indicted in cellphone trafficking scheme

Published 10:01 am Friday, May 15, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — Nine Twin Cities area people have been indicted in a multimillion dollar cellphone trafficking scheme.

The indictments made public Thursday said homeless people were recruited to buy the cellphones using stolen identities and then sign up for a service plan that gave them the phone at a reduced cost. Authorities said the phones were shipped to Hong Kong and sold on the street for as much as $2,000.

The indictment said conspirators used a Target employee to make sure the stolen identity would pass a credit check.

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The seven men and two women are accused of trafficking in at least $3.8 million in stolen phones. The nine were released on an unsecured bond of $25,000 following appearances in federal court Thursday.

The indictment said the conspiracy started in about 2011 and continued until about 2014.