California siblings plead guilty to stealing 800 MacBooks worth $2.3 million

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A pair of California siblings who stole roughly 800 MacBooks over seven years, totaling over $2.3 million in retail value, have pleaded guilty to federal offenses relating to the crime.

Patricia Castaneda worked in the School of Humanities and Sciences at a private university in Stanford. During her time at the university, she was responsible for ordering MacBooks for its faculty and staff.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, she began stealing and selling MacBooks she ordered for cash in 2009 or 2010. Initially, Castaneda sold them to an individual she met over Facebook.

In 2016, she began giving the MacBooks to her brother, Eric Castaneda, who would transport them to an individual in Folsom, who resold the MacBooks to buyers outside California.

In one decade, the two had managed to steal over $2.3 million in retail value, which cost the university more than $4 million in total.

Patricia Castaneda pleaded guilty to federal program theft, and in a separate case, her brother pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate.

U.S. district judge Kimberly J. Mueller is set to sentence the pair on June 7. Patricia Castaneda will face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Eric Castaneda faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In November of 2020, thieves hijacked a truck in England carrying over 48 pallets of Apple products, totaling $6 million in retail value.

Also in November, a group of five Amazon employees was arrested for stealing iPhones from a logistics center in Madrid, Spain. The retail value was believed to be nearly $600,000.

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