Two Men Arrested in Cell Phone Scheme

The men bought hundreds of Alltel pre-paid cell phones with fraudulent checks and then re-sold them.

Alltel's corporate office notified local authorities an investigation is underway and arrests have been made, and now the Alltel company is also under fire because of a possible connection.

Suspicious activity led Alltel's corporate office to notify local authorities last week. Someone had opened more than 100 accounts totaling in upwards of $60,000.

The investigation lead authorities to Benjamin Foster.

LT Tim Watkins, an investigator in Thomas County, says, "Mr. Foster was purchasing the phones and reselling them on the street for $125 a piece these were pre paid phones that he paid $75 for."

Investigators say Foster had an accomplice Tyrone Thompson. The men both from Boston, Georgia bought the phones with bad checks from stores in Thomasville and Albany.

Alltel representatives declined comment Friday. Sheriff deputies say the company is under investigation. Authorities believe the suspects had inside help because they were able to buy such a large amount of phones.

LT Watkins adds, "Mr. Foster would by phones in excess of 25 at a time according to company policy an individual can only have 5 lines at time."

Kerry Hilton, a Thomas County resident, says, "I think that it's wrong and people who were buying these from them should know that something must be up that something's not right."

The two men were charged with theft by deception. All of the accounts have been closed and the cell phones have been disconnected.

Investigators say the purchases took place from November 2003 to February of this year. The case is still under investigation and authorities anticipate more arrests will follow.

LT Tim Watkins says they are not charging anyone who bought these phones, but authorities want to speak with anyone who had any type of connection to the suspects. You're asked to call investigators at 229-225-3333.