It was an Internet fraud scheme that in just seven months cost telephone and Internet service providers throughout the country more than $9 million, prosecutors say.
But Monday a judge ordered a Riverside businessman to pay it all back. Gregory D. Evans, 33, will also serve two years in federal prison on charges of federal conspiracy and wire fraud.
"This was a very serious case," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Angela Davis, "not only because it defrauded huge, powerful interstate communication carriers, but it also defrauded mom-and-pop Internet service companies."
From November 1996 to June 1997, Evans ran a company called Connect America, which specialized in selling toll-free numbers for a flat rate. But authorities said the numbers actually belonged to AT&T or MCI.