MN Man Admits to Defrauding Sprint Nextel of $145K

A man from Minneapolis admitted in federal court to ordering hundreds of cell phones for customers, which he then resold on EBay and kept the proceeds for himself.

Christopher Destasio, a 42-year-old man from Minneapolis, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of wire fraud as part of a scheme through which he defrauded Sprint Nextel of nearly $145,000, according to Minnesota's U.S. Attorney's Office.

Destasio-a former account executive for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint Nextel Corporation-was charged in August and pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

He allegedly ordered hundreds of cell phones-which he claimed were to be sold to customers-and kept them for himself. Destasio billed Sprint Nextel customers' accounts for the phones, but only for small amounts such as 99 cents. Most of the charges went unnoticed by customers, according to the Attorney's Office.

Destasio then sold the phones on EBay and kept the profits for himself. He admitted to selling 575 phones-priced between $200 and $409-from October 2007 to October 2009. He ultimately made about $144,600 through the fraud scheme.

For the wire fraud charge to which Destasio pleaded guilty, he asked an EBay customer to transfer $409 to his Paypal account in August 2009 in exchange for a Sprint Blackberry cell phone.

Destasio faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. United States District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz will hand down the sentence at a yet-to-be-scheduled hearing.