Dutch man jailed for counterfeit Apple scam in UK

A Dutch national has been jailed for his part in a Europe-wide scam that involved exchanging counterfeit Apple products under warranty for genuine replacements.

Chen Wei, 31, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and possession of articles for use in fraud following an investigation by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs at Inner London Crown Court.

Another man suspected of involvement in the warranty fraud scam is still being sought by law enforcement.  

Wei was intercepted by police and arrested entering the UK via a ferry in Dover, Kent, after suspicions were raised following his visits to authorised Apple retailers, where he had booked in multiple counterfeit devices to be replaced under warranty using fake names and addresses.

Staff at the retailers identified that the devices were in fact counterfeit, which led Apple investigators to discover that this was part of a wider scam taking place at Apple outlets in France and Belgium.

Following Wei’s arrest, 38 counterfeit Apple iPod Touch devices and 13 Apple Pencils were found in his vehicle. It is suspected that these devices would have been exchanged for genuine replacements to the value of £13,169 (around $16,500).

Wei had previously been arrested and released under investigation in Belgium in 2020 after trying to exchange Apple devices at an authorised repair centre in the country. When he was arrested, he was found with 10 devices in a Lexus he owned, the same vehicle he was arrested in when he entered the UK.

In the UK, Wei was seen to be working in collaboration with an unidentified male (pictured alongside) in multiple repair centres in Croydon, south London, where multiple Apple iPod Touch devices with defects were dropped off to be repaired, all of which were identified as counterfeit.

This type of warranty fraud has become more common with Apple products, as the production quality of counterfeit items has made it difficult for store staff to tell them apart from legitimate devices with a visual inspection.

In 2020, a Swiss man was sentenced for three years in prison for a similar scam involving around 111,000 fake iPhones, with a similar sentence given to a US student a year earlier who had been found guilty of making almost $1m from the illegal activity.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top