Two men in Pennsylvania helped thousands of Comcast customers lower their monthly bill through an illegal scheme, and now they're going to jail because of it. For more than a year, Alston Buchanan and Richard Spraggins discreetly took payments between $75 and $150 from 5,790 local Comcast subscribers. In exchange, they shaved down the monthly fees that each customer owed, ultimately robbing the cable and internet provider of $2.4 million. Buchanan and Spraggins allegedly paid off a Comcast employee to obtain login credentials that gave them direct access to the company's billing system.
Unfortunately for both men, their operation lacked forethought and any semblance of careful planning. They combed the streets for potential clients, making stops at beauty salons, bars, and local restaurants according to the local district attorney. Worse still, the bank account where Comcast's customers were instructed to deposit funds was owned by Buchanan himself. When police eventually busted him, they also discovered ledger books filled with the names, phone numbers, addresses, and Comcast account numbers of everyone they'd done business with. Buchanan had $100,000 in cash stashed at his apartment. Customers weren't charged for their questionable "savings" retroactively, but bills were adjusted once the scam was uncovered.
Spraggins, who prosecutors identified as the second-in-command, pleaded guilty in February and will serve up to 23 months in prison. He was ordered to pay back $66,825 to Comcast, which amounts to little more than chump change for the giant company. It remains to be seen how much Buchanan will owe in restitution. He pleaded guilty last week and could face decades behind bars. “We’ll be asking for a lengthy state-time prison sentence and it will be left up to the judge at that point,” said prosecuting attorney Jeremy Lupo.