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Pakistani Man Served 12 Year Imprisonment For $200 Million Phone-Fraud

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A U.S. court sentenced a Pakistan resident to 12 years of imprisonment on charges of a conspiracy by him to “unlock” phones from AT&T’s network, which according to the company resulted in a loss of more than $200 million.

In 2012, an employee of an AT&T call center in Bothell, Washington, was recruited via Facebook by 35-year-old Karachi resident Muhammad Fahd. That employee and other employees of AT&T were bribed by the Pakistani man for unlocking phones using the credentials of the employees.

This resulted in the phones being unlocked and removed from AT&T’s network even for those customers who had yet completed payments for the expensive devices or before the expiry of the service contracts with the company. That allowed the customers to then go on to purchase cheaper telephone services for their phones.

At a later stage, the employees of the company were also used by Fahd to install malware on the network of AT&T which allowed him to unlock the phones directly from Pakistan. Even after his initial scheme was detected by the company, Fahd carried on with his ploy.

Prosecutors said two employees of the company were fired as a consequence.

Fahd ended up making millions through selling illegal phone-unlocking services through online retailers. He started to live an extravagant lifestyle with frequent foreign trips – staying at hotels in Dubai costing $1,000-a-night and wearing a $30,000 watch. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, Fahd even hired the British singer-songwriter, Jay Sean, to perform at his wedding for an estimated $100,000.

During the scam, the Pakistani allegedly paid $922,000 from 2012 to 2017 to three employees of AT&T prior to being arrested in 2018 I Hong Kong. The scam comprised of over 1.9 million AT&T phones being unlocked, showed a forensic analysis of the scam by, AT&T.

In 2018, Fahd was extradited to the U.S. where he pleaded guilty to the crime of wire fraud conspiracy in 2020.

“This defendant is a modern-day cybercriminal who combined his technological expertise with old-school techniques such as bribery, intimidation, and exploitation,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a news release.

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San Francisco

San Francisco Man Who Went Missing While Kayaking Found Dead

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The body of a man, who was on a kayaking trip and had been missing, has been found by authorities on the shore of the Clear lake Thursday after four days of intensive search, authorities said.

The Lake County Sherrif’s Office said that Dylan Flanagan, 28, was last seen alive on Oct. 10 afternoon in his kayak, rowing on Clear lake, reported San Francisco Chronicle.

Later that day, his girlfriend got in touch with the authorities reporting that he was not responding to her calls, which lead to a four-day long search.

A San Francisco resident, Flanagan, was staying near Clearlake Oaks in a rental home celebrating his birthday and job promotion when he went kayaking alone Sunday afternoon.

According to Lake County News, conditions were windy and there were high waves.

Though the Sherrif’s office couldn’t confirm where the deceased man was from, according to profiles on social media, he was from San Francisco.

The authorities said Flanagan’s girlfriend was able to contact him on his phone shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 when he told her that he was fine. But subsequently, when she tried to call him repeatedly later that night there was no answer. She then reported him missing and no one else had heard from him too.

Kayaking

A representational image of a green kayak. Image Credit: Pixabay.com

Search Team Found Flanagan Kayak

On Monday, a search team found the green-colored kayak which is believed to be that of Flanagan near Widgeon Bay, where he is believed to have gone missing.

A California fire crew found his body Thursday around 10.40 am on the lake’s shoreline near Olson Road, Clearlake Oaks. According to the Sherrif’s Office, an autopsy will be conducted in the coming week.

Five deaths have been reported on Clear Lake this year, with all but one occurring off the Clearlake shores, officials said.

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San Francisco

San Francisco: Thieves Break Into Cars Along Embarcadero, Shoot At Witness

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San Francisco has been hit by an ongoing series of car break-ins. This time the latest incident happened along the Embarcadero.

A witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw two persons breaking into cars around Pier 19 as he shouted at them to stop. Before driving off they dumped the luggage from the car and on reaching Pier 19½ they broke into another car, Kron4 reported.

The witness said he again shouted at them and started clicking photos. One seeing the witness taking photos, one of the thieves took out a gun and opened fire.

“I heard gunshots as he aimed the gun at me, I instinctively jumped behind a car standing next to me. They then got into the stolen vehicle and sped away,” the man told the outlet.

The witness, who luckily didn’t suffer any injury, said he was angry that such a thing was happening in the city in broad daylight and no one was trying to stop the thieves.

‘Feel Unsafe Here’

Hours later, the owners of the car turned up to find their cars gone.

One of the car owners speak to Kron4.

One of the victims said, “Something like this has happened to me twice in the city. The first time I was here I was mugged and now this. I have lived and worked in Detroit for 10 years and never has something like this happened. It is a pity that you come to this beautiful city and feel unsafe.”

Some of the dumped luggage was found and the finder contacted the owner, who immediately headed out to collect whatever was left of it.

One of the cars which were broken into had its rear windscreen smashed.

When the police were contacted, the guy whose car was broken into was told to fill an online police report. Meanwhile, the witness who was shot at was also told to fill an online report. Not satisfied with this, he called 911 again and this time they agreed to send an officer to meet him.

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San Francisco

Organized Shoplifting Forces Closure Of 5 Walgreens In San Francisco

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Undeterred by a security guard and a TV reporter recording his act, a thief raided a Walgreens store in San Francisco on a bicycle, with a garbage bag in his hand full of stolen goods.

The brazen shoplifting video, shot in June, was watched by millions. Critics say this underlines how epidemic thefts at retail stores have become in the city.

It was the fifth time the thief had targeted the same Walgreens store located on Gough Street in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, police said.

On June 19, the San Francisco Police Department said it had arrested the man, identified as Jean Lugo-Romero, 40. Investigators said he was responsible for a number of thefts in the Northern and Mission districts.

A video grab of Jean Lugo-Romero stealing goods inside the Walgreens store.

Lugo-Romero faces burglary and robbery charges for the five times he stole from that particular Walgreens store, including on four consecutive days in late May, early June.

Four months later, Walgreens said it has decided to close the stores plus four others in the city in November due to the continuing issue of organized shoplifting in San Francisco.

‘Organized Retail Theft Challenging’

In an email to The New York Times, Phil Caruso, spokesman for Walgreens said, “Organized shoplifting has been a continuing challenge facing retailers in San Francisco. Retail theft across our stores in San Francisco are fives the average across our chain.”

Walgreens said professional thieves steal from their stores and then resell the goods through the online marketplace. According to police, most of the retail crime in the city is the handiwork of organized gangs.

In a board meeting in May, Walgreens’ representatives said the company had to close 17 stores because thefts had made doing business untenable at these stores.

With the fresh closure, Walgreens stores in the city which have shut have gone up to 22. The company has more than 50 stores in the city.

Employees working in these stores will be shifted to other locations and customers will have their prescriptions transferred to nearby stores.

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