Student who scammed Apple with fake phones gets three years

A Chinese student who made almost $1m in a counterfeit iPhone scam has been sentenced to three years in prison, plus another three years of supervised release.

Quan Jiang, a student at college in Oregon who pleaded guilty earlier this year to fraudulently submitting thousands of repair requests to Apple, and could have faced up to 10 years. He agreed a plea deal in May, and has already paid Apple $200,000 in restitution.

Over several years, Jiang and his alleged conspirator Yangyang Zhou sent Apple an estimated 2,000 or so fake iPhones, claiming they were faulty, and receiving brand authentic new or factory refurbished models as replacements under the company’s warranty and repair process.

Apple responded by sending out almost 1,500 replacement iPhones, each with an approximate resale value of $600, which were sent to China and resold for a profit. When Zhou was detained, enforcement agencies discovered boxes of counterfeit iPhones that on examination were found to be clones worth about $30.

The fraud lasted from January 2016 through at least February 2018, according to assistant US Attorney Ryan Bounds. Jiang managed a ring of people in the US who accepted shipments of the fake iPhones from China, he added.

The scam first came to the attention of the US authorities in 2017 after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted a shipment of 28 iPhone 6 devices addressed to Jiang at his apartment in Corvallis, Oregon.

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