TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: virginis.phr

Virgin Islands Phreak arrested and convicted

From: rice@ttd.teradyne.com
Subject: Virgin Islands Phreak Arrested and Convicted
Organization: Teradyne Inc., Telecommunications Division
Date: Sat, 23 May 92 18:03:55 GMT

With the on-going discussion of the 'legalities' of unauthorized use
of long distance access codes (or phone credit card numbers), the
following is forwarded from alt.ham.radio, as it might be of interest
to readers.  Apparently you don't have to be 'caught with the card' so
to speak, to be found guilty of toll fraud using un-lawfully obtained
access numbers.

Additional details of this story have been published a number of places.


[relayed from packet]

 Msg #1083  
 From: KZ1D  
 Date: 15-May 0309Z  
 Subj: The Compleate KV4FZ (1)

OK, you asked for it, and here it is!  The WHOLE, unexpungatetd (sp?)
article as it appeared in the May 15 W5YI Report ...
St. Croix ham operator, Herbert L. "Herb" Schoenbohm, KV4FZ, has been
found guilty in federal court of knowingly defrauding a Virgin Islands
long-distance telephone service reseller.  He was convicted April 24th
of possessing and using up to fifteen unauthorized telephone access
devices in interstate and foreign commerce nearly five years ago.
The stolen long distance telephone access codes belonged to the
Caribbean Automated Long Lines Service, Inc. (CALLS) of St. Thomas,
U.S. Virgin Islands.  Schoenbohm was found to have made more than
$1,000 in unauthorized telephone calls -- although the prosecution
said he was responsible for more (make that far more).
According to the {Virgin Islands Daily News}, Schoenbohm, who is also
the St. Croix Police Chief of Communications, showed no emotion when
he was pronounced guilty of the charges by a 12 member jury in U.S.
District Court in Christiansted.  The case was heard by visiting
District Judge Anne Thompson.
Neither Schoenbohm or his defense attorney, Julio Brady, would comment
on the verdict.  The jury deliberated about seven hours.  The
sentencing, which has been set for June 26, 1992, will be handled by
another visiting judge not familiar with the case.
Schoenbohm, who is Vice Chairman of the V.I. Republican Committee, has
been released pending sentencing although his bail was increased from
$5,000 to $25,000.  While he could receive a maximum of ten years on
each count, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alphonse Andrews said Schoenbohm
probably will spend no more than eight months in prison since all
three counts are similar and will be merged.
Much of the evidence on the four day trial involved people who
received unauthorized telephone calls from KV4FZ during a 1987 period
recorded by the CALLS computer.  Since the incident took place more
than five years ago, many could not pinpoint the exact date of the
telephone calls.
The prosecution produced 20 witnesses from various U.S locations,
including agents from the Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service,
Treasury Dept. and Federal Communications Commission.  In addition
ham operators testified for the prosecution.
Schoenbohm was portrayed as a criminal who had defrauded CALLS out of
hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Schoenbohm admitted using the
service as a paying customer, said it did not work and that he
terminated the service and never used it again.  He feels that there
was much political pressure to get him tried and convicted since he
had been writing unfavorably articles about Representative DeLugo, a
non-voting delegate to Congress from the Virgin Islands, including his
writing of 106 bad checks during the recent rubbergate scandal.
Most, but not all the ham operators in attendance were totally opposed
to KV4FZ.  Bob Sherrin, W4ASX from Miami attended the trial as a
defense character witness.  Sherrin told us that he felt the
conviction would be overturned on appeal and that Schoenbohm got a raw
deal.  "They actually only proved that he made $50 in unauthorized
calls but the jury was made to believe it was $1,000."
Schoenbohm's attorney asked for a continuance due to newly discovered
evidence but that was denied.  There also is a question as to whether
the jury could even understand the technology involved.  "Even his own
lawyer couldn't understand it, and prepared an inept case," Sherrin
said.  "I think he was railroaded.  They were out to get him.  There
were a lot of [ham] net members there and they were all anti-Herb
Schoenbohm.  The only people that appeared normal and neutral were the
FCC.  The trial probably cost them a million dollars.  All his enemies
joined to bring home this verdict."
Schoenbohm had been suspended with pay from the police department job
since being indicted by the St. Croix grand jury.  His status will be
changed to suspension without pay if there is an appeal.  Termination
will be automatic if the conviction is upheld.  Schoenbohm's wife was
recently laid off from her job at Pan Am when the airline closed down.
Financially, it could be very difficult for KV4FZ to organize an
appeal with no money coming in.
The day after the KV4FZ conviction, Schoenbohm who is the Republican
Committee vice chairman was strangely named at a territorial
convention as one of eight delegates to attend the GOP national
convention in Houston this August.  He was nominated at the caucus
even though his felony conviction was known to everyone.  Schoenbohm
had even withdrawn his name from consideration since he was now a
convicted felon.
The {Virgin Island Daily News} later reported that Schoenbohm will not
be attending the GOP national convention. "Schoenbohm said he came to
the conclusion that my remaining energies must be spent in putting my
life back together and doing what I can to restore my reputation.  I
also felt that any publicity in association with my selection may be
used by critics against the positive efforts of the Virgin Islands
Schoenbohm has been very controversial and vocal on the ham bands.
Some ham operators now want his amateur radio license pulled -- and
have made certain that the Commission is very much aware of his

John Rice         K9IJ    |  "Did I say that ?" I must have, but It was
rice@ttd.teradyne.com     |   MY opinion only, no one else's...Especially
(708)-940-9000 - (work)   |   Not my Employer's....
(708)-438-7011 - (home) 

TUCoPS is optimized to look best in Firefox® on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986-2024 AOH