A pair of Oregon college students from China were charged with a fraudulent iPhone repossession that allegedly cost them almost $ 1 million.
Students Yangyang Zhou and Quon Jiang reportedly returned false iPhones to Apple, claiming they did not work. When the tech giant sent a new, legitimate replacement phone, the couple sold it to a broker – usually abroad, according to a complaint filed with the US District Court in Oregon last month in federal court. Both students would collect the profit, claims the prosecutor. All sales were made online.
Zhou studied in Oregon, Corvallis, Oregon, while Jiang Linn attended Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. Both participated in legal foreign student visas.
Jiang, who has taken the lead, was charged with counterfeit goods and cable fraud while Zhou is charged with making false or misleading allegations in an export declaration. Jiang can face up to 30 years in prison and $ 2 million in fines if convicted. Zhou faces a $ 1
The Oregonian first reported the scheme.
The investigation began two years ago, in April 2017, when the authorities in Portland were asked to deliver fake iPhones, according to US Customs and Border Patrol.
There were 216 warranty claims from Zhou, or addresses related to him, and Jiang filed 3,069 warranty claims. The nearly 1,500 successful claims cost Apple, according to the court estimated a total of 895,800 US dollars.
Despite the success, some 1,600 warranty claims were rejected by Apple because of the suspicion that they had been forged or tampered with.
In an interview with the investigators, the two said they would pay friends and relatives to accept replacement cell phones at addresses in China. Even Jiang's mother, according to investigators, was involved in the fraudulent system.
"Jiang explained that in return for his work and efforts, his employee in China pays the mother of Jiang, who also lives in China, who in turn deposits the proceeds in a [bank] bill to which Jiang is referred here Location is United States ", it says in the lawsuit of the court.
Apple never told Jiang that the iPhones were fake, he said, according to the December 2017 interview cited in the lawsuit.
The authorities seized several Apple products from Zhou when he was at San Francisco International Airport in the direction of China in August 2018. The photos on the phone contained dozens of little white boxes of Apple product codes and piles of empty shipping boxes from Apple.
Jiang's lawyer declined to comment on The Oregonian while Zhou's lawyer told the newspaper, "We believe that Mr. Zhou will be confirmed."