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Pair found guilty of trying to defraud Apple of more than $3 million

Pair found guilty of defrauding Apple in repair scheme

Two individuals hatched a scheme that involved submitting fake iPhones to Apple for repair in an attempt to get them replaced with real ones — and could be jailed for 20 years for doing so.

Haotian Sun and Pengfei Xue, residents of Germantown, Maryland, were found guilty by a federal jury on Tuesday for attempting to defraud Apple of millions of dollars worth of iPhones. They were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud, which are serious offenses carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to a press release from the D.C. U.S. Attorney's office.

Between May 2017 and September 2019, it was found that Sun, Xue, and other co-conspirators attempted to obtain genuine iPhones from Apple by submitting counterfeit devices through Apple's repair program. The counterfeit devices were received from Hong Kong and mailed to UPS mailboxes in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

They then submitted the fake iPhones, with spoofed serial and IMEI numbers, to both Apple retail and Apple Authorized Service Providers. Evidence showed that they submitted more than 5,000 inauthentic phones, which would have caused a loss of more than $3 million to Apple. The pair were arrested in December 2019.

District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly scheduled sentencing for June 21, 2024.

Recently, a security researcher was thanked by Apple in OS patch notes just days after being indicted in a scheme that allowed him to steal millions of dollars worth of Apple products, gift cards, and services.