Deportation likely for man involved in scheme to defraud Sprint out of iPhones worth $1.3M
WILLIAMSPORT — A New York City area man is likely to be deported to Guyana after serving his sentence for his role in a scheme to defraud Sprint out of iPhones valued at $1.3 million.
George Ernest Bobb, 37, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court to 33 months in prison followed three years of supervised release if he’s not deported.
The scheme involved the purchase or attempt to purchase 1,630 iPhones valued at $1,338,247 using fake accounts.
Only 888 phones were shipped, so Sprint’s actual loss was $705,803, of which $339,804 occurred during Bobb’s participation.
Judge Matthew W. Brann ordered him to pay as restitution his share of the $339,804 with the other defendants.
Andrew Craig Herdsman, 34, and Horace Henry, 43, like Bobb pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Ian Keith Thompson, 31, of Brooklyn, is awaiting trial.
Bobb, Herdsman and Henry admitted ordering phones to addresses they were not associated with, track the delivery times and be there to pick them up when delivered either by showing the driver a fake ID or by removing them from the porch.
The phones, which retailed for $749 each, would be taken to New York City and sent overseas where they were sold.
The identities of 390 individuals in 14 states were stolen including residents of Centre, Mifflin, Montour and Northumberland counties, Assistant U.S. Attorney George J. Rocktashel said at their guilty pleas.
Centre County was a hotbed of activity in January 2019. Bobb claimed he received $400 to pick up phones in Maryland and Delaware but said he never was in Pennsylvania.
His sentence gives him credit for four months he received in Delaware on similar charges. He also is facing charges in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, Rocktashel said.
The judge rejected a defense argument Bobb was a minor participant in the scheme and, citing his 16 prior convictions, for a sentence below the guidelines.
Bobb claimed he was in the United States legally on a “green” card that he said lapsed since being detained 22 months following his arrest. His wife and children are U.S. citizens, he said.
Rocktashel, when he outlined the scheme previously said:
— Personal identification information was obtained and used to create false Sprint accounts, open service contracts and obtain counterfeit driver’s licenses and college student IDs.
— Pre-paid gift cards were used for down payments or sales taxes required to activate the accounts.
— Phones were shipped to residences, many of which were for sale.
— Tracking numbers were used to determine when the phones would be delivered so they could be picked up.
Henry, Herdsman and Thompson are Jamaican citizens and also could be face deportation.