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State’s Supreme Court upholds phone scam conviction

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court says a former prison inmate was properly convicted of setting up a phone scam.

Prosecutors accused Matthew Steffes of stealing electricity from AT&T when he had people on the outside set up phone lines using fictitious names so he could get around prison limits on collect calls to a single line. No one paid for the service. When AT&T shut down one line Steffes would switch to another.

A jury convicted him of fraud in 2009.

Steffes argued electricity doesn’t meet the definition of property. But Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman wrote Thursday state law clearly defines electricity as property and Steffes deprived AT&T of that property.

Steffes’ attorney, Jeffrey Jensen, says his client has been released from prison but has probably exhausted his appellate avenues.

One comment

  1. I wonder if it’s the same man that started the call forwarding scam. The scheme employs an automated message asking the victim to call a certain phone number with extra digits. But by dialing the strange number, it activates the call forwarding option on the victim’s phone line.By then, the scammer can already make collect calls to the victim’s number. And although the victim is not answering the calls, the charges will still be billed to the victim’s account.

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