Business Cops, Courts and Fire

Men Sentenced For Identity Theft Scheme Involving Comcast Customers

The two men were arrested by federal authorities.

A sign outside a Comcast facility in Central Bucks County. File photo.

Two men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a identity theft operation that impersonated over 150 customers of Comcast and Charter, according to an announcement from Jacqueline Romero, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Estifany Herrera Cedano, 45, of Yonkers, New York, received an 81-month prison sentence, and Johnny Israel Ramos Castillo, 31, of the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to 54 months. Both will also face three years of supervised release after their imprisonment.

The sentencing by U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sánchez also includes restitution payments to the companies. Herrera Cedano must pay Comcast and Charter $347,666.07 and $245,697.76 respectively, while Ramos Castillo’s restitution amounts to $50,327.19 for Comcast and $217,948.01 for Charter, prosecutors said.

From 2019 to 2020, Herrera Cedano and Ramos Castillo conducted a scheme that involved obtaining stolen identities and account information of Comcast and Charter customers from sources in the Dominican Republic. They then visited retail stores across the country, posing as legitimate customers with fabricated photo IDs to sign up for mobile services and secure smartphones and other devices on credit, authorities said.

The victims typically became aware of the fraud only upon receiving their monthly bills, long after the items had been shipped overseas for resale, authorities said.

In total, law enforcement identified over 560 mobile devices stolen through this fraudulent activity, resulting in losses of nearly $593,364.

Surveillance footage, financial, phone, and sales transaction records played a key role in identifying Herrera Cedano and Ramos Castillo’s involvement, authorities said.

“Identity theft and other financial frauds are serious crimes that can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on victims,” said Romero. “Our office and law enforcement partners are committed to stopping fraud scams and punishing those responsible and protecting the financial well-being of the American public.”

Sara C. Bay, acting special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia, highlighted the priority of tackling financial fraud.

“Together with our partner agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, we continue to have great success in dismantling these criminal organizations and safeguarding the financial safety of the American public,” she said.

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