Jail phone glitch makes inmates rich
POSTED: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 9:04am
NBC NEWS — A Lake County, Florida inmate is back in jail after using a glitch in the county jail's phone system to place more than $1,200 in his personal account and bond himself out of jail.
Deputies say Larry Stone, 32, figured out when making a phone call, if he hung up before the call went through, the telephone service gave him a refund and then some.
The news spread through the jail and inmate Bryan Sunblade heard about it.
"They made the call and were like, 'Man, I just checked my account and made a call and there's more money in my account then when I made the call,'" Sunblade said. "It was a big thing for a while that day because once someone heard it, they told somebody, somebody else did it and went on down the line."
When asked if Sunblade had ever tried it, he said, "No ma'am I'm in enough trouble already."
Sunblade also said the inmates who participated in the trickery knew what they were doing was wrong.
"They know they was doing something wrong because they know how much money they had in their account. Honestly, I done wrong, I wouldn't be sitting here myself, but they know they're doing wrong; they know they wasn't supposed to be doing that," Sunblade said.
The telephone provider for the jail is Global Tel Link.
A local call is almost $3, long distance just over $13 and international calls are $23-86.
If the call doesn't go through the money goes back into the inmate's personal account.
Stone allegedly called more than six dozen times, deputies said.
Another inmate, Kevin Tomilson, was about to bond out when deputies caught him.
The jail's Information Technology Department caught the problem when they noticed an usual amount of phone calls.
"The company who owns the phone company here in the jail had accidentally turned on the software system that controls the credits to the inmates' phone accounts to an old server here at the sheriff's, so at that point we had two servers which were actively crediting for calls that were incomplete. And that's how it happened, so basically it was a human error," Lt. John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Department said.