Cellular provider employee arrested Wednesday morning

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wednesday, officers with the Picayune Police Department arrested a Carriere man for allegedly embezzling nearly $50,000 worth of merchandise from a cellular telecommunications company’s Picayune branch. The suspect allegedly conducted 60 illegal transactions over a month’s span as an employee.
Picayune Police Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said the investigation started when management discovered their employee, Trey Pitts, 30, of 43 Shore Crest Circle in Carriere, allegedly sent an unauthorized mass text to customers mostly located in Texas. The texts were sent several months ago and stated that if they filled out a survey, the company would issue $25 worth of credit to their account. In the survey, Magri said the customers were allegedly asked to provide their account and password information.
Later, those same customers called customer service because their phones were inexplicably shut off. When the customers called to report the problem, a customer service representative told them that it was because they had upgraded their phones at the company’s Picayune branch. However, Magri said all of the customers stated they had not upgraded their phones and had never been to Picayune.
Through further investigation, detectives verified that those accounts were upgraded through in-store transactions, all of which had Pitts listed as the sales representative, Magri said.
It appeared that Pitts asked unidentified accomplices to visit the store and specifically solicit his help. Pitts would then gain access to the fraudulently obtained accounts from the survey and pretend to verify the “account owners” by a simple driver’s license check. Magri said Pitts then upgraded the phones on those accounts and gave the accomplices the new phones before they left the store. Some transactions consisted of up to five phones, he said.
As the unknown accomplices left the store, they removed and altered the IMEI numbers and sim cards in the phones to make them untraceable, however, some were traced to locations in Mexico, but are unrecoverable, Magri said.
Magri said the sales were not flagged as suspicious at first by the company since the correct username and passwords were logged into the computer. Additionally, Pitts claimed the “customers” were family members or asked for him specifically because of a Facebook post he made. But after multiple customers from Texas called customer service claiming they had never been to Picayune nor agreed to an upgrade, the suspicious actions were reported to the Picayune Police Department.
Pitts’ first fraudulent transaction occurred April 12 and the last was recorded on May 25. Once a warrant was obtained, detectives arrested Pitts Wednesday morning for embezzlement.

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