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Two people found guilty in $3M iPhone repair scheme with over 5,000 iPhones

The US Department of Justice reports that two persons have been found guilty of a “sophisticated plan to defraud Apple out of millions of dollars’ worth of iPhones.” The scheme involved sending fake iPhones to Apple for repair, after which Apple would swap them out for real iPhones.


In a press release on Tuesday, the US Attorney’s Office said that a federal jury had found Haotian Sun, 33, and Pengfei Xue, 33, guilty of the scam. The two Chinese nationals, who were Maryland residents, faced charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They might spend up to 20 years behind bars. The date of sentencing is June 21, 2024.


According to the government’s evidence, Sun, Xue, and other defendants defrauded Apple Inc. by submitting counterfeit iPhones to Apple for repair to exchange them for genuine replacement ones. Sun and Xue received inauthentic iPhone shipments from Hong Kong at UPS mailboxes around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.


They delivered the counterfeit iPhones to Apple retail outlets and Authorized Service Providers. During the plot, conspirators submitted over 5,000 fake phones to Apple, hoping to cost the company more than $3 million.


Such a maintenance scam has garnered media attention and resulted in an arrest. It’s the same technique that other con artists have employed.

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