CLEARFIELD — New details released Saturday indicate two inmates suspected of running an elaborate identity-theft ring from inside Davis County Jail sold phone numbers to fellow prisoners, resulting in losses to CenturyLink that may total $200,000.
Michael Rivera, 32, and Eric Kamahele, 26, were inmates in the jail when the scam began in 2009, said Clearfield Police Sgt. Kyle Jeffries. The two men have since been moved to other detention facilities.
The scam orchestrated by Rivera and Kamahele was complex, Jeffries said.
“If they had put their minds to something legitimate, they could have done some good,” he said.
Rivera and Kamahele were assisted in the scam by family members and friends on the outside, police say.
In addition to Rivera and Kamahele, Aurora Flores, 24, Frances Nicole Ramirez, 25, Brandie Suiter, 20, Tina Deluna, 32, and Nikkol Guajardo, 31, all face charges in the case, Jeffries said.
The seven are charged with communications fraud and engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, both second-degree felonies, as well as with identity fraud, a third-degree felony.
Hundreds of unsuspecting victims may have had their identities stolen as part of the scam, Jeffries said.
The seven would establish CenturyLink phone accounts in the names of the ID-theft victims and would have phone bills sent to a post office box or another address to avoid detection, he said.
Rivera and Kamahele would then sell the phone numbers to other inmates who could call the fake lines collect from the jail and talk for free, running up a bill in the name of the person whose identity was stolen, Jeffries said.
The phone lines would stay active until the charges on the overdue bills reached about $5,000 and CenturyLink cut off service for nonpayment.
The scammers would then move on, using another line. Jeffries estimates the losses to CenturyLink may be as much as $200,000.
Information about how much Rivera and Kamahele earned selling phone numbers to other inmates was not available.
Clinton police were alerted to the scam when a victim noticed suspicious activity on a CenturyLink account.
The scam that started at Davis County Jail has spread to other detention facilities nationwide, said Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen.
Some people in the area may still be unaware they have been victimized, she said.
Individuals who believe they have been victimized should check their credit reports to determine if there is suspicious activity.