An Astoria Houses resident was arraigned on multiple forgery charges last week after he allegedly sold cloned wireless modems for free Internet access through Craigslist for more than a year, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Time Warner Cable employees and a district attorney detective discovered 22-year-old Andres Saldarriaga’s alleged scheme through buying the modems, which a person could use to access the Internet without paying a monthly fee, from the popular classified advertising website, the DA said.
“By using one of these devices, an individual could unlawfully receive free cable Internet service without the permission of the Internet service provider,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.
Saldarriaga, who lives on Astoria Boulevard near 1st Street, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Aug. 22, the DA said. His charges include forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of forgery devices and theft of services, the DA said.
Saldarriaga allegedly put up advertisements on Craigslist from between March 24, 2011, to Aug. 20, 2012, for his free Internet access modems that could be used to get services from cable Internet companies Time Warner Cable, Comcast, RCN and Optimum Online, the DA said.
A Time Warner Cable investigator responded to the ad by phone and allegedly met with Saldarriaga somewhere in the borough, the DA said. The investigator allegedly bought a cloned modem from Saldarriaga on March 25, 2011, for $150, the DA said. Saldarriga allegedly sold him another one a year later on March 27, 2012, for $175, the DA said.
Sometime between March 24, 2011, and Aug. 20, 2012, a detective from the DA’s detective bureau also allegedly bought two modems from Saldarriaga for a collective $400, the DA said.
Authorities arrested Saldarriaga Aug. 20, the DA said. Upon his arrest, authorities found seven more modems in his car, the DA said. After getting a search warrant, the authorities later found 19 more modems, a laptop computer and other items to make the modems work at Saldarriaga’s apartment, the DA said.
Saldarriaga was released without bail and ordered to return to court Sept. 25, the DA said. He faces up to seven years in jail if convicted, the DA said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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