West Bloomfield Twp. man sentenced in cellphone scheme
Detroit — A West Bloomfield Township man has been hit with a prison sentence and will lose $600,000 for heading up a scheme to traffic in cellular phones.
Jason Floarea, 29, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and was ordered to forfeit $600,000 for his role in a plan to sell stolen and fraudulently obtained cellphones overseas.
The sentencing was the culmination of a three-year investigation, according to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs, Homeland Security Investigations.
Floarea — who appeared before U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds — was also ordered to pay a $120,000 forfeiture money judgment.
According to authorities, Floarea was the president of ACE Wholesale — located in Troy and Taylor — which was used to sell the cellphones that had been modified to function on any mobile network.
The phones were then shipped to overseas buyers at costs far above their retail price, sometimes selling for up to $3,000 each.
According to investigators, Floarea obtained the phones in bulk from straw purchasers who entered into cellular service contracts that provided the phones at either no or low costs; contracts they had no intention of fulfilling.
In 2012, searched businesses, homes and warehouses belonging to Floarea in Troy, Taylor, West Bloomfield Township and Atlanta, Georgia, were equipped with armed guards and bulletproof glass.
In the same year, an inspection of outgoing phones, special agents discovered 10 boxes containing 300 fraudulently purchased cellphones.
“This sentence will no doubt send shock waves throughout the illegal, underground cellphone trafficking network which continues to be a source for robberies and other violent crimes in metro areas throughout the country,” Miller said.
The Taylor and Romulus Police Departments and the Wayne County Airport Authority assisted with the investigation.