MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 30-year-old Golden Valley man is accused of leading a stolen cell phone ring that trafficked at least $3.8 million worth of devices between Hong Kong and the United States. Eight Twin Cities co-conspirators also face charges.
Zibo Li was indicted on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
The indictment says Li and others entered used identity theft to fraudulently enter service contracts in the U.S. at the reduced rates that come with long-term contracts. They would then break the contracts with the mobile service carriers and sell the phones in Hong Kong.
“These defendants stole the identifying information of nearly 60 known individuals and 20 known businesses,” said Assistant United States Attorney Manda M. Sertich in a statement. “They exploited vulnerable members of our society, including people residing in homeless shelters, to steal cell phones and turn a profit.”
Also indicted were Derek Krez Mccormack, 33, of St. Louis Park, Elijah Wayne Jackson, 21, of St. Paul, Temetrius Latonya Nickerson, 42, of St. Paul, Reginald Demarius Washington, 23, of Brooklyn Park, Omid Ngange Akale, 35, of Minneapolis, Joseph Francis Werb, 37, of Minneapolis, Randolph Kendrick Williams, 27, of Bloomington, and Ifrah Isaak Nor, 23, of St. Louis Park.
The case is a result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, the St. Paul Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, the University of Minnesota Police Department and the Plymouth Police Department.