And in the some-crimes-really-do-pay-well department, here's the story of a prison inmate's adventure with a contraband cellphone.
Contraband cellphones are invaluable to inmates, but in the hands of Arthur Lee Cofield, who is serving a 14-year sentence for armed robbery at a Georgia state prison, a mobile phone turned out to be worth $11 million, federal prosecutors said.
From the prison in Butts County, about 45 miles south of Atlanta, Mr. Cofield called the Charles Schwab Corporation in June 2020 and impersonated a billionaire named S.K., who was later identified as Sidney Kimmel, according to a federal indictment.
Mr. Cofield spoke with a company representative about opening a checking account. After Mr. Cofield was told he needed a form of identification and a utility bill, a co-conspirator texted him a picture of Mr. Kimmel's driver's license and a utility bill, prosecutors said.
Mr. Cofield was so convincing that he persuaded the financial-services giant to transfer $11 million from Mr. Kimmel's bank account to a precious metals dealer in Idaho to buy 6,106 American Eagle gold coins, prosecutors said.
From there, Mr. Cofield used his contraband phone to hire a private security company to take the coins from Boise, Idaho, to Atlanta on a chartered plane. After the coins had been delivered, he contacted the owner of a six-bedroom house on 1.4 wooded acres in Atlanta and offered $4.4 million for the property, prosecutors said.
With the help of accomplices, Mr. Cofield paid $720,000 cash as a down payment and later the full balance, also in cash, according to a federal indictment filed in December 2020.
The bank account that prosecutors said Mr. Cofield stole from belonged to Mr. Kimmel, a 94-year-old fashion mogul who has bankrolled box-office hits like
United 93 and
Crazy Rich Asians...
Mr. Kimmel could not be reached. A spokeswoman for Charles Schwab said that the client in the case had been fully reimbursed.
To read the complete article, see:
Inmate Stole $11 Million in Gold Coin Scheme While in Prison, Officials Say
Wayne Homren, Editor
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