Texas man gets prison, must repay $2.4M in pay phone scam

A Houston-area man must serve 18 months in federal prison and repay $2.4 million for what prosecutors call a pay phone scam since 2005.

David Grudzinski of Friendswood was sentenced Friday in Houston. The 61-year-old Grudzinski in April pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud, plus money laundering.

Investigators say Grudzinski owned about 450 pay phones in the Houston area. Grudzinski acknowledged a scheme to unlawfully obtain payments from the owners of toll-free numbers for calls to his pay phones.

Prosecutors say Grudzinski used special software to make his phones robotically dial toll-free telephone numbers assigned to various federal and state government agencies, plus private groups. Grudzinski was then fraudulently paid about 49 cents per call from 2005 through mid-2015.