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Chinese man sentenced in US for defrauding Apple by replacing fake iPhones with real ones

English court jails first offender for 'cyber-flashing'
Source: Pixabay

According to reports, a Chinese national has been sentenced to 26 months in a US prison for his role in a scheme to defraud Apple out of more than $1 million using counterfeit iPhones.

Haiteng Wu, 32, immigrated to the United States in 2013 to study engineering, according to Apple Insider. He earned his Master’s degree in 2015 and found work two years later.

However, the Justice Department stated that at the same time, he began a three and a half year scheme to defraud Apple, according to the report.

Receiving shipments of counterfeit clones from Hong Kong with spoofed IMEI and serial numbers corresponding to genuine Apple devices was part of the scheme.

Haiteng and other conspirators would then return these forged devices to Apple, claiming that they were genuine devices still covered by warranty. The goal was to receive genuine iPhones as replacements.

Those genuine replacement models were then shipped back to conspirators around the world, including Hong Kong.

According to the report, Haiteng recruited others, including his wife Jiahong Cai, to participate in the scheme.

In addition to the conspiracy, he obtained fake identification documents, opened multiple commercial mail receiving mailboxes, and arranged for scheme members to travel through the United States.

In total, Haiteng admitted to defrauding Apple of nearly $1 million and stated that he intended to continue the scheme. In December 2019, he and his accomplice were apprehended. Since then, he has been detained.

In May 2020, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sentenced him to the 26 months he has already served in custody and ordered him to pay $987,000 in restitution and an equal amount in a money forfeiture judgement on Tuesday.

Jiahong, like her husband, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in May 2020.

The US Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the US Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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