Roommates, we all know the saying ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ and two college students may have taken it a little too seriously. The two men allegedly scammed Apple out of nearly $900,000 by trading in fake iPhones.
According to NPR, the two essentially committed insurance fraud using their friends and family, multiple mailing addresses and a Chinese iPhone vendor.
The two men allegedly imported thousands of counterfeit iPhones from China and then filed warranty complaints with Apple, claiming the devices were broken and would not turn on. Apple would replace the fake iPhones with legitimate ones, and the young men would ship them back to China and resell them for a profit.
Yanhyan Zhou and Quan Jiang, who were both engineering students in the U.S, attempted to trade in 3,069 fake iPhones with real ones from April 2017 to March 2018.
“Submission of an iPhone that will not power on is critical to perpetuating iPhone warranty fraud,” prosecutors wrote. “The phone will not be able to be immediately examined or repaired by Apple technicians, and the company will have to send a replacement under its warranty policy.
Although Zhou and Jiang did not succeed with every warranty complaint they filed, they still managed to swindle Apple out of 1,493 authentic iPhones. At a cost of about $600 per iPhone, those replacements resulted in loses of $895,800, according to the company’s estimates.
According to court filings, Apple reportedly sent two letters to Jiang and Zhou’s address, giving them notice that Apple figured out the products were counterfeits. Shortly after, Customs and Border protection seized more than five shipments of fake devices addressed to them.
Jiang is now facing charges of trafficking counterfeit foods and wire fraud, while Zhou is being charged with “submitting false or misleading information on expert declaration.”
Source: NPR, Getty Images