Philly cop charged in elaborate cable TV scam

Officer John Hoeslehas been charged with 101 counts, including conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a communication facility and related offenses.
Officer John Hoeslehas been charged with 101 counts, including conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a communication facility and related offenses.
Posted: August 10, 2012

A 15-year veteran Philly cop was allegedly one of the scammers who illegally accessed thousands of Comcast accounts then persuaded customers to pay them $150 in exchange for a lower cable bill or premium services.

Philadelphia police announced Thursday that Officer John Hoesle, 42, was arrested earlier this week in Montgomery County. He's the 48th city cop arrested since 2009.

According to court documents, Hoesle is charged with 101 counts, including conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a communication facility and related offenses.

Hoesle was one of 17 people who served as "agents" in the yearlong scam and one of more than 20 people charged, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

In the elaborate scheme, the alleged ringleader, Alston Buchanan, 28, illegally obtained Comcast employee IDs that allowed him and his cohorts to manipulate customer accounts by adding premium services or reducing fees, prosecutors said. Montgomery County officials said the agents would charge Comcast customers throughout Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Philadelphia counties $150 to discount their services, illegally alter their accounts and then pocket the money.

Officials said that the scammers changed 5,795 Comcast accounts from April 2011 to April 2012 and that the scheme cost the company more than $2.4 million in revenue.

Hoesle has been suspended from the Police Department with intent to dismiss.

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @morganzalot and read her blog, PhillyConfidential.com.

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