Five Sacramento-area residents have been sentenced to jail terms after pleading no contest to felony fraud charges in connection with a mobile phone insurance scam, according to the California Department of Insurance.
The five were arrested in 2013 by CDI detectives. A sixth suspect was arrested in Van Nuys by Los Angeles Police Department officers. Authorities said the suspects, some of whom were Verizon Wireless employees, accessed account information to identify customers with high-end phones and filed more than 1,300 fraudulent insurance claims for damaged or stolen phones.
The fraudulent claims totaled about $636,000. The suspects had the replacement phones shipped to their homes or to hotels, officials said. The case was prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
Sacramentan Louis Lovett, 31, identified by authorities as the “mastermind” behind the scheme, was sentenced to a six-year jail term, plus four years probation. Co-conspirators Aleta Pinkney, 33; Antonio Miller, 26; Anthony Stanford, 26; and Adi Qalivutu, 23, received one-year sentences. A sixth co-conspirator arrested in Southern California, identified as Nicholas Brown, 27, was sentenced to a two-year jail term.
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Lovett also was ordered to pay restitution of $636,265 to Asurion, the mobile protection insurance company that was defrauded. In addition, the other five conspirators were ordered to pay restitution of varying amounts based on their level of responsibility in the scam, officials said.