Argishti Khaudaverdyan was the former owner and operator of a T-Mobile retail shop. He was sentenced for a $25m scheme in which he unlocked and blocked cell phones by hacking into T-Mobile’s internal systems.
The scheme was carried out by a 44-year-old man who, between August 2014 and June 2019, “cleaned” thousands of cell phones for his customers. He was also ordered $28,473,535 in repartee.
The wireless carrier terminated Khudaverdyan’s contract as the owner of Top Tier Solutions T Mobile retail store in California in June 2017, citing his suspicious computer behavior and association with the unauthorized unlocking of cellphones.
“From August 2014 to June 2019, Khudaverdyan fraudulently unlocked and unblocked cellphones on T-Mobile’s network, as well as the networks of Sprint, AT&T, and other carriers,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.
“Removing the unlock allowed the phones to be sold on the black market and enabled T-Mobile customers to stop using T-Mobile’s services and thereby deprive T-Mobile of revenue generated from customers’ service contracts and equipment installment plans.”
Alen Gharehbagloo was his ex-business partner and co-owner of the mobile shop. Khudaverdyan used credentials stolen from 50 T-Mobile employees to access T-Mobile’s internal computer systems.
The credentials stolen were used to gain access to T-Mobile’s internal computer system and, in some cases, for password resets that locked out account owners.
“Working with others in overseas call centers, Khudaverdyan also received T-Mobile employee credentials which he then used to access T-Mobile systems to target higher-level employees by harvesting those employees’ personal identifying information and calling the T-Mobile IT Help Desk to reset the employees’ company passwords, giving him unauthorized access to the T-Mobile systems which allowed him to unlock and unblock cellphones,” US DOJ said in an August press release when Khudaverdyan pleaded guilty.
They advertised the “direct premium unlocking services for all phone carriers” through email and dedicated websites such as unlocks247.com and swiftunlocked.com.
“Whether the iPhone is clean, financed, blocked or leased, we can perform convenient, factory-grade unlocks on all iPhone and iPad devices that have been iCloud locked without voiding your phone’s warranty,” Khudaverdyan told one potential customer in an email advertising his services, according to the superseding indictment.
“We’ve been unlocking cell phones for years, and our specialty is in providing competitive, iCloud unlocking services and Clean/Financed T-Mobile iPhone services.
“Unlike other companies that use’ hacking unlock’ with the possibility of your iPhone being re-locked in the future, our T-mobile unlock is Official and directly through Apple and T-mobile.”
Alen Gharehbagloo was his ex-business partner and co-owner of the mobile shop. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, accessing a protected system intending to defraud, and conspiracy to launder money. Gharehbagloo will be sentenced in two months on February 23, 2023.