An inmate using a phone in jail. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Inside jails in Newport News and Norfolk, inmates would get a recommendation for a bail bond company that could give legal help.

But the company recommended, FamUnited, was fake, federal prosecutors in Virginia say. They say the inmates’ identities were stolen, along with their cellphones, wallets and credit cards, in exchange for promised bonds that never came.

According to an indictment in federal court, the conspirators sent forged property release forms to the jails even for inmates who didn’t go along with the scam.

The fake bondsmen also forged power-of-attorney forms and used them to drain inmates’ bank accounts, according to the indictment. With stolen identity cards, they opened new bank accounts in inmates’ names.

One of those charged, 31-year-old Delanio Vick, of Norfolk, was an inmate at the jail who spread word of the fake company, according to federal prosecutors.

Vick, Teresa Gallop, 49, of Norfolk and Jessie Davis, 20, of Portsmouth were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements in an application to a federally insured institution, and aggravated identity theft.