Charleston County man sentenced after pleading guilty to wire fraud

A judge sentenced a Charleston man to federal prison after he pleaded guilty to defrauding a nonprofit to acquire IP addresses.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2023 at 8:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge sentenced a Charleston man to federal prison after he pleaded guilty to defrauding a nonprofit to acquire IP addresses.

Amir Golestan, 40, was sentenced to five years of prison after Golestan pleaded guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud, First Assistant United States Attorney Brook Andrews said.

Prosecutors accused Golestan of operating a company, Micfo LLC, that represented itself as a hosting services provider and providing customers with technology and services needed for a website or webpage to be viewed on the internet. As part of the business, Micfo applied and registered for IPv4 addresses through the American Registry of Internet Numbers.

ARIN is a nonprofit that administers IP address rights, allocations and transfers in the U.S., Canada and parts of the Caribbean. It administers IPv4 addresses, which are numerical labels assigned to each device connected to a computer network that communicates over the internet.

Prosecutors say that as ARIN’s pool of IPv4 addresses has depleted, a secondary market developed where prices for them increased. When Micfo no longer qualified to procure IPv4 addresses, prosecutors say Golestan created fake companies to procure the addresses and made “fraudulent representations” to ARIN to obtain them.

“Like many corporate wrongdoers, Amir Golestan tried to obscure his criminal conduct by using fake companies and complex transactions,” U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office stands ready to unwind these schemes and prosecute those who exploit critical technologies to line their own pockets. We are grateful to the FBI and to ARIN for their assistance in holding Golestan accountable.”

“Golestan’s criminal activities caused significant harm to his customers who put their trust in his hands,” Paul “Reid” Davis, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office, said. “His betrayal of that trust is being met by the weight of justice with this sentence. The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to investigating and dismantling fraudulent schemes designed to take advantage of critical technologies.”

In addition to the five years in prison, United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel ordered Goleston to pay $76,978.25 in restitution to ARIN.

After Golestan is released, he will be under a 2-year term of court-ordered supervision.

There is no parole in the federal system.