SOURCE: Carlton Fields

January 31, 2008 10:03 ET

Carlton Fields Shareholders Win $1 Million Judgment on Behalf of TracFone Wireless, Inc.

Florida Case the Latest Success as Phone Hackers Are Targeted Across U.S.

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - January 31, 2008) - In another legal victory against wireless phone hackers, Carlton Fields Shareholders James B. Baldinger and Steven J. Brodie on Jan. 8 obtained a $1 million judgment from the U.S. District Court in Orlando against yet another defendant in TracFone Wireless, Inc.'s lawsuit against Larry's Cell. This judgment comes on the heels of a $2 million judgment and permanent injunction secured in September against Riedcor, Inc., which was involved in the same unlawful activity.

The victory is the latest in a string of successful lawsuits Baldinger and Brodie have prosecuted on behalf of TracFone and other wireless service providers against individuals and companies across the country who steal the subsidies that wireless phone companies intend for their legitimate customers. The perpetrators make extensive use of email and the internet to recruit "runners," who purchase phones at numerous retail stores every day to circumvent the sales limits intended to thwart their conduct. Once the phones are delivered by the runners, companies like Larry's Cell utilize hackers who "unlock" and "reflash" the phones, enabling them to be used on other wireless networks. The phones are then resold at higher prices overseas in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

TracFone has filed more than 20 lawsuits against more than 70 defendants in federal courts throughout the country, with a particular focus on cities throughout Florida, Texas, Georgia, and California. TracFone has also sent cease and desist letters to dozens of other individuals who are involved in these unlawful practices. Many more lawsuits are expected to be filed in the coming weeks and months.

Baldinger is also working closely with law enforcement officials to criminally prosecute the perpetrators. In November, Baldinger obtained a permanent injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Muhammad "Mubi" Mubashir and his company, America's Wireless, requiring them to stop the practice of purchasing and unlocking TracFone handsets. Now, Baldinger is assisting the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston with prosecuting a criminal contempt case against Mubashir for continuing to engage in unlawful activity and violating the injunctions against him. That criminal trial is set to begin in March, and Mubashir could face several years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

"TracFone is committed to putting an end to these unlawful practices," said Brodie.

Baldinger added: "We intend to file many more lawsuits around the country, and to continue working closely with law enforcement, private investigators, and handset manufacturers to attack the perpetrators from all sides. Anyone engaged in this practice should be concerned that they may be our next target."

A member of Carlton Fields' Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Class Action Litigation, Telecommunications Law, and Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights Practice Groups, Baldinger practices complex commercial litigation and provides advice and counsel to companies on security, electronic surveillance, and telecommunications matters. He formerly served as Vice President of Business Security and Senior Corporate Counsel for AT&T Wireless Services, Inc. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1990 and his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987.

Located in major business centers in Florida and the Southeast, Carlton Fields offers a full range of legal services in more than 30 areas of law. Established in Tampa, FL in 1901, the firm maintains offices in Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Additional information is available on the firm's web site located at www.carltonfields.com.

TracFone Wireless Inc. is the largest prepaid cell phone provider in the U.S., and has been the leader in the 10 years since it was founded. TracFone is a subsidiary of America Movil, the fourth largest cell phone company in the world, and the largest in all of the Americas with more than 141 million cell phone subscribers -- more than AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. America Movil is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AMX, and has been named top technology company by Business Week for the past 2 years (Technology Hot 100). For more information, visit www.tracfone.com.

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