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Pennsylvania man sentenced for selling $270,000 in stolen phones

(Reuters) - A former Pennsylvania Verizon Wireless employee was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday for stealing 900 cell phones and accessories and selling them online for more than $270,000, prosecutors said.

James Hopkins, 35, who worked as a Verizon account manager in Trevose, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, last year to mail fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.

Over the course of several months, Hopkins diverted shipments of phones and other devices from his employer to a relative's home in New Jersey, the prosecutor said.

Hopkins placed the orders using the names of existing Verizon customers without their knowledge and sold the phones on eBay, the statement said.

"The defendant manipulated Verizon’s computer database to conceal the fraudulent orders and shipments," Fishman said.

In addition to prison time, Hopkins was ordered to serve two years of supervised release, pay $303,623 in restitution, and forfeit the money he received from selling the stolen phones.

Hopkins' attorney was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Eric Beech)

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