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Ex-Verizon techie cuffed for 5,000 'chat' line calls

Tapped 942 customer phones, prosecutors claim

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A former Verizon facilities technician was on Tuesday cuffed for allegedly tapping the landlines of 942 of the company's customers to make 5,000 calls to 1-900 "chat" lines, racking up a $220,000 bill in the process.

According to the The Star-Ledger, Joseph R. Vaccarelli, 45, of Nutley, New Jersey, spent 45,000 minutes on other people's phones in the Bergen County area during his ten years at Verizon.

His arrest came after a probe by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office White Collar Crime Unit. He's charged with theft by deception and theft of services, each of which carries a maximum penalty of ten years behind bars.

In his defence, Vaccarelli told WABC-TV New York that it was "outrageous" to imagine he'd made so many calls.

The total time Vaccarelli allegedly spent chatting on the phone is 750 hours which, if spread over ten years, represents 75 hours a year, or 6.25 hours a month, or an average of 1.44* hours a week.

However, according to other news sources, "Verizon estimated that out of a 40-week period, Vaccarelli spent 15 weeks talking on 900 chat lines" - an impressive achievement matched only by Japanese council worker who apparently surfed 750,000 smut websites in just nine months, which translates as 20 pages for each minute he was sat at his desk. ®

Bootnote

*Based on a 52-week year, before you start rattling your abacuses.

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