SIM card thief sentenced to hard time

Australian woman reportedly imprisoned after pleading guilty to stealing a SIM card and racking up close to $200,000 in data charges.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

An Australian woman was reportedly sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing a SIM card from a utility meter and racking up more than $190,000 in charges.

SIM (subscriber identity module) cards give mobile phones their ID on mobile networks.
SIM (subscriber identity module) cards give mobile phones their ID on mobile networks. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Kylie Maree Monks, 33, pleaded guilty to computer-related fraud, receiving stolen property, and one count of making a false declaration, according to a report in Australian newspaper The Mercury. Monks reportedly stole a SIM card from a power meter that had a wireless data connection to Telstra's wireless broadband network.

Aurora Energy, the power company that owned the meter, became aware that the SIM (subscriber identity module) card had been stolen when Monks racked up more than $193,000 in wireless Internet data charges between November 19, 2009, and February 9, 2010, according to the report. Initially, Monks denied any knowledge of the stolen card. But according to the article, she eventually told investigators that she had been given the card by a man who had asked her to download movies for him.

Monks said she downloaded dozens of movies from the Internet, which she burned to CDs and gave to the man who had given her the SIM card. Monks also made phone calls using the SIM card, according to the report.

Monks was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but she will likely only serve about six of those months, The Mercury said. The judge in the case suspended the last 12 months of the sentence on the condition that she be on good behavior for three years. Monks was also ordered to repay Aurora $193,187.43, the newspaper said.