DC pay phone owner gets 3 months in $4M fraud case

By JESSICA GRESKO | January 4, 2012 | 6:35 PM EST

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A Washington-area pay phone owner has been sentenced to three months in prison for rigging his phones to fraudulently ring up $4 million in fees.

Nicolaos Kantartzis was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in September to using more than 100 pay phones to make phantom calls. Because the calls are free to legitimate users, the party getting the call pays costs that include a cut for the pay phone operator.

The 63-year-old defendant was paid each time his phones rang the numbers, even though most calls lasted only a few seconds. Authorities said his scheme spanned six years and some 8 million bogus calls.

Kantartzis' attorney says his client repaid the millions and forfeited his phones. The attorney says he plans to return to his native Greece after release.