Rashad Elqutob Made Millions Selling Stolen Phones. Then, the Law Caught Up With Him.

Categories: Crime, Technology

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Rashad Elqutob
Azmi Elqutob never had a chance to hand over the money. The 66-year-old was behind the register at his Smokie's Food Store, his family's Fort Worth bodega, when Frederick Jones rushed in with a 9 mm pistol and a bandana over his face and fired twice. Jones grabbed a fistful of cash from the register, then fired two more rounds into Elqutob's prone body. He later used the money to buy cocaine. He's currently serving a life sentence.

The murder, senseless as it was, didn't derail the criminal investigation into Elqutob then being conducted by Tarrant County prosecutors and the U.S. Secret Service. They simply shifted their full attention to his son Rashad Elqutob, who used to work for AT&T.

The case had begun two years earlier after RadioShack and AT&T each contacted the Secret Service to report the disappearance of a large quantity of cell phones. A subsequent search of the home of the elder Elqutob turned up more than 1,000 phones, while 35 were found at his son's residence. All were stolen.

Investigators eventually pieced together that the father-son team was running a cell phone theft ring in which employees at AT&T, RadioShack, and New Breed Verizon would steal handsets and sell them to the Elqutobs for 10 percent of their retail value. The Elqutobs would then sell the phones on eBay or Craigslist or via online companies the son created like Dealmaker, Reemsale, or Wireless World Warehouse.

The scheme brought in nearly half a million dollars per year. Nor did his arrest in March 2012 and subsequent criminal charge persuade him to stop. He admitted during his trial this week that he was continuing to sell phones online.

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Tarrant County DA
On Wednesday, a Tarrant County jury sentenced the younger Elqutob to 10 years in prison on theft and organized crime charges and ordered him to pay $280,000 in restitution. And prosecutor Lori Burks got to pose next to 800 seized cell phones and make a heroic declaration that justice was served.

"This case is about American greed," Burks says in a press release. "Elqutob came to this country with nothing, got a great education, and had a great job, but it wasn't enough. He became the CEO of his own criminal enterprise and used his knowledge of the cell phone industry to exploit weaknesses and make millions."

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26 comments
CorporateCorruption
CorporateCorruption

What's interesting to me is that they can catch these little guys on small theft issues but in the Dallas County where 100s and 100s of millions of dollars in Loan Fraud is going on right under the Judges noses with the same people over and over and over again and they get away with all this... Same Billion Dollar Based company and all their derivatives ... same companies and all their easy to find shell companies to hide assets and commit loan fraud through the use of money laundering to commit fraud.. EXTREMELY easy to trace by following their 3 Publically traded companies and all their in house money shuffling and hiding real estate by flipping them to other LLCs, Insurance Company... Obviously someone is getting paid off for this to go on literally nonstop in the Dallas County Courts... I even know what lenders they are cheating and defrauding... Which I might add,  has a HUGE impact on our economy for these lenders to take a hit like this, causing interest rates to go up... But of course it would be severe bad PR to name them in this blog site. 

thechuckwilliams
thechuckwilliams

There was an obvious crime here. However, this prosecutor, like most, has abused the RICO statutes for something other than it's intended purpose.

I think this one is gunning for a bigger public office... just my two cents.

yeahitsallabouttruth
yeahitsallabouttruth

No one mentions in this article that she spent  well over 750k dollars of our tax payers money for this trial. All our money to try to make a name for herself! Talk about greed! Has anyone asked the question- Why did it take this women 4years to convict a innocent man? She is racist! She hates Muslims! She hates different cultures! She tends to forget America being the "melting pot"! All this and she is a public servant!

texanbynature
texanbynature

I don't know the prosecutor, Lori Burks.  She apparently hails from Ft. Worth.  But, if the quote attributed to her is accurate, I'm afraid I don't care to know her, and some of her mistaken notions are not typical of Cowtown.


What the HELL is "American greed"?  We have someone being paid by our tax dollars in law enforcement who attributes endemic foreign criminal motive to greed that is, in her mind at least, American in nature!?!

Capitalism is not about "greed".  The free market system is not about "greed".  Individual liberty to work where one wishes is not about "greed".  AND THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AMERICAN GREED.  If you want to see REAL greed, look no further than the Middle East and Africa.  . 

 I don't know where this woman was educated, or who most influences her concepts of life, but she has a cause of action against the morons who planted a defective seed in her brain that there is something called "American greed".   She otherwise appears and sounds like a nice person.  But, she's horrible confused and wrong about economics as well as criminal motive.

The facts are that no country in the history of our planet has done more to lift up the masses from poverty into a high standard of living, and has been more generous in giving money, volunteer time, technology, and assistants to other countries to help them emulate our success at improving individual lives.  

James William Tingle
James William Tingle

May he rot in prison. Too bad the law isn't pursuing the cell phones stolen from individuals, only cell companies. I guess that they don't want to hinder the cell companies that profit from our phones being stolen. I thought "protect and serve" applied to people and not just corporations.

apersonintrouble
apersonintrouble

This is one of my family members. He did nothing wrong, and he has five kids that are devastated to see there dad being in jail for something he didnt do. This thing that happened was not right he didnt steal any phones yet thay are saying "theft ring" if anything this is the goto guy everyone needed him and now the whole family is gonna lose everything based on lies.

Daniel
Daniel

"Bodega"? Fuckin' please.

Lorlee
Lorlee

Interesting that he gets 10 years for half a mil in profits and the guys who made $200 Mil on the betting scheme got a year. 

Obummer
Obummer

Yo Elqutob won’t be need’n uh cell phonez wherez hez bez going.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Its been three days since Rep. Steve Stockman embarrassed Texas and Texans by embracing an anti-American and racist hater, and the Observer is silent on the issue. WTF??

wcvemail
wcvemail

@yeahitsallabouttruth You're confused about several things.
1. Criminal prosecutions are not mainly about profit.

2. She already has a name for herself. She's a prosecuting attorney for the people. This is different than, say, a defense attorney making a name for herself with advertising.
3. It probably took four years because of the multiple agencies involved, the scope of the crime, and the defendant's own attorneys requesting continuances, which is a common practice in defense.
4. She may be racist, or she may hate Muslims, but without objective proof, your exclamatory claims are defamatory. In fact, I see that you're too ready to dismiss criminal charges with this type of ad hominen attack. Do you know a guy named Al Sharpton?
5. Not a bit like the Egyptian legal system, huh? Welcome to America.

CanYouDigIt
CanYouDigIt

@apersonintrouble you are so right.... we should release a criminal and a thief back into the streets just because his family can't realize who he really was.  

OCEANINTHEDESERT
OCEANINTHEDESERT

@Lorlee the rich protect the rich...and the super rich really really really protect the other super rich

Daniel
Daniel

@Obummer Wow, Mark Twain ain't got nothin' on you. Jackass.

texanbynature
texanbynature

@ruddski Americans have every right to "mock" the President.  We've been doing it since John Adams was President, and it was elevated to an art form during Kennedy and Nixon, and later Reagan. 

See if you can grow a sense of humor, or have a look at American History.  One will make you happier; the other a little smarter.

GoingBoeing
GoingBoeing

@ruddski I presume you're referring to that clown Stockman, defending the insolent, Obama-masked Missouri rodeo clown who dared mock our glorious Dear Leader? 

If so, you're a clown too, unless of course Stockman had something stupid to add about stolen cellphones.

 

texanbynature
texanbynature

@wcvemail In America, she has a right to hate Muslims or any other filthy culture she wishes. "hate" is not a crime, no matter how damaging it might be.  It is an idea, a thought, an opinion, and an emotion.  And after radical Muslims murdered over 3,000 unarmed Americans going about their daily lives on 9/11, and disgusting pigs at al-Jazeera proudly showing Muslims all over the world applauding and cheering the death of Americans, many of us ceased to be tolerant of these people.  (Were the British tolerant of Germans bombing them night-after-night.)


Despite what the Obamunists in the White House say, we ARE at war with terrorism, and we ARE at war with Islamic Jihadists.  And, we'll win those wars. 

I take exception to this prosecutor's phrase about "American greed", and believe she is either poorly educated and/or so liberal that she doesn't understand America and Capitalism. 





Obummer
Obummer

@Daniel@Obummer 

Yo Samuel Johnson said, "yo' comment iz bof good an' original, but da part dat iz good iz not original an' da part dat iz original iz NOT good."

 

thechuckwilliams
thechuckwilliams

@texanbynature exactly. If you could be fired for impersonating the President, there wouldnt be any male cast members of SNL left.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Yep-that's the guy.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

I suspect the DO will ignore this incident, because it makes certain followers of Dear Leader look like fascist pukes. They're reacting almost like Moslems did in response to the Mohammed cartoons - but in all fairness, no-one has been killed and no autos or buildings were torched, which demonstrates that the left values free political speech :)

Maybe they clown can bunk with Zimmerman.

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