In my experience, Apple Store employees are some of the hardest-working, most reasonable and (despite the fact they’re employed to sell you things) trustworthy people in retail. According to Manhattan district attorney, however, that description isn’t universal.
The DA is indicting four former Apple Store employees, plus a dental office receptionist, for an Apple-related scam that ultimately defrauded Barclays Bank of $700,000, using ill-gotten Apple gift cards.
Here’s how it happened.
The alleged scheme involved the dental-office receptionist pinching the personal information of more than 250 patients. Once this was done, the data was used to secure online credit from Barclay, before that money was used to buy Apple gift cards, and those cards used to buy Apple products.
If you’re confused by that complex chain of events, don’t lose too much sleep over it: The complexity of the case has taken two-and-a-half years to bring to this point.
The items bought from Apple apparently ranged from $2,000 to $7,000 in value. The stores that were targeted haven’t been named, but the Apple Store employees seem to have been involved with every step, from obtaining the fraudulent credit to helping cover up the scam. One of the Apple Store employees named in the case, 30-year-old Devin Bazile, looks to be among the ringleaders and faces up to 54 years in jail if convicted.
As Apple Store watcher extraordinaire Gary Allen points out, one of the most interesting tidbits of the case was the throwaway line in DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s statement, which was issued Tuesday: “Using stolen information to purchase Apple products is one of the most common schemes employed by cybercrime and identity theft rings today.”
It seems Apple-related crime has moved far beyond smashing Apple Store windows or mugging iPhone owners.