Three brothers who were high-level members of a multimillion dollar cellphone crime ring received lengthy federal prison sentences Friday.
Kanan Mustafa, 40; Jamal Mustafa, 45; and Nizar Mustafa, 26, will each serve between seven and eight and a half years and pay more than $1 million in restitution.
“These three brothers were high-level members of the Mustafa Organization,” said Acting United States Attorney Gregory Brooker. “The Twin Cities was the hub for their criminal operations, but the organization trafficked in millions of dollars in stolen cellphones and electronics across the nation and overseas.”
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, from at least 2006 through 2014, the three men and other members of the Mustafa family and their associates used stolen identity information and other criminal means to obtain at least $20 million of cellular telephones.
The brothers and three other Mustafa brothers operated 13 mobile device stores in the Twin Cities, which were used to buy illegally obtained mobile devices. Members of the Mustafa organization paid runners to steal mobile devices or obtain them fraudulently using stolen identification documents. They resold the stolen phones and tablets for substantial profits that were then distributed among themselves and used to pay for rent, utilities, payroll and other expenses.
All 21 members of the conspiracy have entered guilty pleas.
“This case is about more than cellphones being stolen. It is about a complex crime ring stealing identities and people’s good names for criminal gain,” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement.