Here is another example of wireless airtime as new form of prison currency. According to the article, “inmates used a contraband cell phone for a short time in April and May of this year. The phone was used to make 1,375 unauthorized calls from jail, including 367 calls to online retailers, banks, and shipping businesses. Authorities believe Volk arranged fraudulent commissary trust account deposits as payment for access to the cell phone.” Prisons can devalue contraband wireless airtime by offering inmates a legitimate alternative, such as the meshDETECT secure prison cell phone solution.
A dozen people have been charged with laundering stolen credit cards through jail inmate commissary accounts, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office reported Wednesday.
Darin Volk, 26, and eleven others have been named in a 36-count complaint alleging conspiracy to commit identity theft, conspiracy to possess a cell phone in jail, and identity theft, D.A. Jeff Rosen announced.
Prosecutors believe Volk enlisted the help of other inmates in Milpitas’ Elmwood correctional facility in his alleged scheme, as well as at least three people out of custody.
Brian Hoar of Turlock is believed to have deposited money into inmate commissary trust accounts and inmate telephone accounts at Volk’s directive. Heather Murphree of Turlock and San Jose residents Shanna Conroy and Jaimelynn Sakoda were then asked to withdraw a portion of the money from the accounts, the complaint alleges. The inmates named in the complaint had authorized the withdrawals and were left with a share of the fraudulent deposits as payment. According to the D.A., jail personnel followed standard procedure and issued Santa Clara County checks to the three women without knowing that the accounts had been funded by fraud.
The complaint also alleges that Volk and other inmates at Elmwood used a contraband cell phone for a short time in April and May of this year. The phone was used to make 1,375 unauthorized calls from jail, including 367 calls to online retailers, banks, and shipping businesses. Authorities believe Volk arranged fraudulent commissary trust account deposits as payment for access to the cell phone.
According to the complaint, 34 people have been identified as victims of the scheme and the potential losses total more than $17,000.
At the time of the alleged offenses, Volk was in custody pending prosecution on a large-scale, multi-jurisdictional counterfeit credit card manufacturing scheme, officials say. He was arraigned Wednesday on the new charges and faces an additional 25 years in county jail if he is convicted.