Corrections officers and inmates at a Georgia prison are facing charges in a scheme using smuggled cellphones for extortion and fraud, NBC News reported.
The operation took place at Autry State Prison, and was highlighted in an NBC News investigation about the rise in cellphones in cellblocks.
Prosecutors said inmates used the phones to collect information on fraud targets. Posing as law enforcement, they called victims and threatened to have them arrested for not attending jury duty. Victims were instructed to buy cash cards and wire the funds into an account. Accomplices outside the prison would then launder the money.
Fifteen corrections officers, 19 inmates and 17 others have been indicted on federal charges.