Three people convicted of what Texas prosecutors called a "cybercrime conspiracy" will be behind bars for a long time.
The defendants were accused of a scheme that defrauded telco giants like AT&T, Verizon and XO Communications. Waymark Communications, CommPartners, Excel Communications and Bandwidth.com were also victims, authorities said. Power companies, website developers and insurance companies were among their others who fell prey to these cons, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Michael Faulkner of Southlake, Texas, got 30 years after pleading guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He also has to pay $18 million in restitution. His wife pleaded guilty to similar charges and will learn her fate next week. Matthew Simpson of Red Oak, Texas, got 40 years and must pay back more than $17 million. Nathan Shafer of Irving, Texas, received a nine-year sentence and must pay back more than $3 million.
The defendants created shell companies and phony IDs in order to bilk the companies out of millions of dollars. The investigation, which began several years ago, took several twists and turns as two of the defendants fled to Mexico. There was even a report that one had been killed.
A federal judge called the conspiracy a "massive, complicated, multi-year scheme."