File picture: Independent Media

Newark — A Pakistani man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for laundering nearly $20 million (approx. R258 937 200) as part of an international computer and telephone hacking scheme.

Muhammad Sohail Qasmani, originally from Bangkok, Thailand, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

He was sentenced to 49 months in prison on Wednesday by a federal judge in New Jersey, along with two years of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $72 million in restitution.

Prosecutors say he laundered the money as part of a scheme where hackers reprogrammed unused telephone extensions from businesses to make calls to premium telephone numbers.

Qasmani pleaded guilty to laundering money to about 650 people in at least 10 countries.

The Pakistani man prosecutors say ran the scheme remains a fugitive.

Associated Press