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Henry Perez Pleads Guilty To Cellphone Fraud After Judge Asked If CourtCall Should Continue

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 4 – In a two-defendant case charging cellphone account takeover fraud, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman on June 25, 2020 while awaiting a court reporter conducted an informal poll on the impact and future of phone and video conferences in the Federal courts. Inner City Press covered it - and now, the guilty plea.

 Judge Berman said he hopes that even after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, phone and video conferences remain. He said that even some defendants, particularly those in custody, have said they prefer them: being taken to a room in the MCC, rather than hours in holding cells.    

Defense lawyer Dawn Florio, in this case representing Henry Perez but previously covered by Inner City Press in the Tekashi #6ix9ine case, said that telephone conferences are particularly useful when she is on trial in other cases. She says she has a trial resuming in July, "it was covered in the New York Times." 

 Inner City Press published an informal review, from a media perspective, of the era of telephone and CourtCall proceedings, here. In this case, the AUSA tactfully said that he believes other judges, too, are thinking about this.

This case was put off into September.

Jump cut to October 4, 2021: HENRY PEREZ pled guilty today to leading a multi-year cellphone account takeover fraud conspiracy.  PEREZ impersonated legitimate cellphone accountholders in order to fraudulently obtain smartphones and electronic devices that he charged to compromised accounts.  The fraud scheme also caused more than 300 victims across the United States to lose cellphone service for a period of time.  PEREZ is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Berman on January 18, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, PEREZ also agreed to pay restitution of $539,654.96 and forfeiture of $532,374.96. 

Meanwhile while some AT&T telephone proceedings remain, it seems CourtCall is over at SDNY.

It is US v. Perez, 19-cr-880 (Berman).


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