Miami Man Arrested for Hacking Web Phone Services

The FBI arrested a man in Miami on Wednesday for allegedly hacking the networks of Internet telephone service providers to fraudulently sell more than 10 million minutes of calls, federal authorities said.

FBI agents early Wednesday executed nine search warrants in six states related to the case, and arrested Edwin Andres Pena in one of his Miami residences, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said in a statement.

Pena, a legal U.S. resident from Venezuela, received more than $1 million through a scam that provided his customers deeply discounted telephone rates, a two-count complaint filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey said.

Pena was expected to appear before a magistrate judge in Miami federal court on Wednesday, Christie said. The complaint charged him with wire fraud and a computer hacking violation from November 2004 to about May.

Pena secretly hacked into the computer networks of unwitting Internet telephone services, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Christie said. The complaint charged only Pena, but he enlisted the help of others, including a professional hacker in Spokane, Washington, he said.

A Newark, New Jersey-based company, which transmits VoIP services for other telecom businesses, was billed for more than 500,000 unauthorised telephone calls.

(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew.)

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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