Cable Operators

Probe Snares Six For Scamming Comcast Service

8/08/2012 11:28 AM Eastern

Montgomery County, Pa., district attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Tuesday that six men had been arrested for using compromised tech IDs, including paying a subcontractor $5,000 for the use of theirs, to illegally lower cable bills.

The IDs allow Comcast technicians to authorize of change service for customers. More than 5,000 accounts were manipulated for a one-time charge to subs of $100-$200 per account, with an estimated revenue loss to Comcast of $2,401,673, the D.A. said.

The operation was run out of Philadelphia, Comcast's hometown, and by a former dispatcher for Comcast and subcontractor Advanced Communications (ACI). Comcast discovered the scam earlier this year and worked with ACI and then Montgomery County detectives, to track down the thieves, Ferman said.

Six people have been charged with "Corrupt Organizations, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activity, Criminal Conspiracy, Theft of Services, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Unlawful Use of Computer, Computer Theft, Computer Trespass, Criminal Use of Communication Facility and Possessing Instruments of Crime."

Arrest warrants have been issued for 17 people who acted as agents offering the discounted bills for a one-time payment.

"We discovered some unusual promotional adjustments that raised concerns, so we began an internal investigation." said Beth Bacha, V.P, communications, Northeast division, for Comcast. "We have been working closely with the Montgomery County DA's office for several months and want to thank them for their professional and thorough investigation. We will continue to cooperate as the case moves forward."

A preliminary hearing is set for next month.

September