Payphones: The Unexpected Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

 

Larry Stone, an inmate at the Lake County Jail in Florida, has been sitting behind bars since April since he couldn’t post bail for his property crime charges. A few days ago he went to use the jail pay phone to make a call, he was given a shot at freedom. The get out of jail free card didn’t come from the person that Stone was trying to call, but rather from the fact that his intended contact didn’t pick up.

The jail payphone had a system built into it that whenever a call wasn’t answered, the user got their money back. In this case, however, instead of getting just his money back, Stone doubled. As you can imagine, it wasn’t too long before he made multiple unanswerable calls. Countless local, long distance, and international calls later, Stone had doubled his money so many times that he had raised enough for his $1,250 bail, and even made $50.69 in spending money.

Not questioning how or where the money came from, the police allowed Stone to post bail, gain his freedom, and wrote him out a check for $50.69. It wasn’t too long before the word spread to other inmates, causing them all to start doubling their money like magic. And we do mean that the word spread fast; 256 inmates learned of this glitch and all of them began exploiting it to double their money and get the jail to write out checks for them.

Needless to say, the sheriff figured that it was pretty unusual that all of these prisoners were all of a sudden getting money out of nowhere and decided to investigate where it was coming from. As it turns out there was an error with the company providing the phone service, and all of those fraudulent checks were cancelled. As for Stone, he knew the police would be looking for him, so he turned himself back into jail the following day with additional charges of grand theft and scheming with the intent to defraud.

The lesson of the post? Pay phones still exist, apparently. And, with some luck, they can be profitable to you. Just remember, if something seems too good to be true, odds are it is; and it may land you in jail.

(Via Gizmodo) / (Image by Phil Aaronson licensed under Creative Commons)

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