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Scammers Sent Fake iPhones ‘For Repair’ to Get $3 Million in Authentic Phones From Apple

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Two men in Maryland who sent thousands of counterfeit iPhones to Apple for repairs to get authentic replacement iPhones in return were found guilty by a federal jury on Tuesday, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The men now face up to 20 years in prison.

Haotian Sun, a 33-year-old from Baltimore, and Pengfei Xue, a 33-year-old from Germantown, Maryland, obtained fake iPhones from Hong Kong starting in 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They submitted roughly 5,000 phones to Apple and authorized service providers over the course of the next two years, even spoofing serial numbers to ensure their deception wasn’t easily caught.

Sun and Xue are Chinese nationals, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, though it’s not clear how long the two men may have been living in the U.S. The men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud, given their use of the mail to carry out their fraud.

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Aside from spoofing serial numbers, the two men used various aliases to cover their tracks. The entire scheme totaled about $3 million worth of fraud, according to government prosecutors. The case was led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kondi J. Kleinman and trial attorney Ryan Dickey of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, according to a press release.

Two brothers in San Diego, Zhimin and Zhiting Liao, were sentenced to 41 months in prison last year for an identical scheme of exchanging counterfeit iPhones and iPads. The genuine Apple products were then sold to people in foreign countries, according to the Times of San Diego.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly has reportedly scheduled the sentencing of Sun and Xue for June 21.

Source: Gizmodo

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