A Miami man, on the run for more than two years after being arrested and charged with stealing and reselling VoIP services, has been caught in Mexico.
Edwin Pena was arrested in June of 2006 on computer and wire fraud charges. The government charges that from November 2004 to May 2006 Pena and a cohort hacked into the computer networks of VoIP service providers and routed calls of Pena's customers' calls through them.
According to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in New Jersey, Pena and co-conspirator Robert Moore of Spokane, sold more than 10 million minutes of VoIP service stolen from 15 telecom providers.
Pena, who is charged with one count of computer fraud and one count of wire fraud, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.
In the fall of 2007, Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud. He currently is serving a two-year sentence in federal prison. Federal investigators contend that while Moore acted as the hacker, Pena was the mastermind behind the fraudulent scheme.
But while Moore went to prison, Pena went on the run.
Assistant US Attorney Erez Liebermann told Computerworld today that Pena was found and arrested in Mexico last Friday. He added that the US is now seeking Pena's extradition.
Voice over Internet Protocol is the routing of telephone calls over the Internet or other Internet protocol based networks.
As part of the scheme, Moore's job was to scan telecom companies around the world, searching for unsecured ports. It was noted in the criminal complaint that between June, 2005 and October, 2005, Moore ran more than 6 million scans of network ports within the AT&T network alone.
The complaint alleges that once Moore found insecure networks, he would then email Pena with information about the types of routers on the vulnerable networks, along with corresponding user names and passwords. Then, according to the government, Pena would reprogramme the vulnerable networks so they would accept his rogue telephone traffic.
The government charges that Pena ran brute force attacks on VoIP providers to find the proprietary codes they used to identify and accept authorised calls coming into their networks. He allegedly would then use the codes to surreptitiously route his own calls through their systems.
Pena's scheme allegedly earned him more than $1 million, according to the government, which added that he used some of the money to buy real estate in Miami, a 40-foot Sea Ray Mercruiser boat, and luxury cars.