SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man was sentenced Wednesday to 44 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud.
According to court documents, Sergio Soto Jr., 35, operated two businesses, iPhone Buyerz and Phone Dropz, through which he claimed to sell used cell phones in bulk. While heavily advertising on the internet, Soto did not, in fact, have access to the large amount of cell phones he offered for sale. Soto fraudulently sold phones that he had no ability to deliver to victims including businessmen in the U.S. and in Mexico. The amount of fraud totaled $990,696.00 and Soto agreed to make restitution in this amount as part of his plea. Additionally, Soto was sentenced to pay $400 in special assessments.
“The growing trend towards significant on-line purchases has greatly increased the problem of wire fraud, both in the United States and internationally,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff for the Western District of Texas. “Prosecutions like this are an important part of protecting consumers from deceitful predators.”
“This individual took advantage of unsuspecting victims and lined his pockets at their expense,” said Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr. of the FBI San Antonio Division. “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those who engage in these types of fraudulent schemes will be held accountable.”
The FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety and San Antonio Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg Surovic and Matthew Kinskey prosecuted the case.