Ex-student sentenced to 3 years in prison for massive iPhone scam

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Ex-student sentenced to 3 years in prison for massive iPhone scam
Scam cost Apple up to $1.2 million.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

An ex-Oregon engineering student from China who plead guilty to a scam involving counterfeit iPhones has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

30-year-old Quan Jiang and another student imported fake iPhones. They swapped these out for legit devices under Apple’s warranty scheme. The working iPhones were then sent to China, and they were rewarded with a cut of the profits. The scam reportedly cost Apple up to $1.2 million.

U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut sentenced Jiang to three years and one month in federal prison. Immergut rejected Jiang’s defense lawyer’s request for probation. His lawyer, Celia Howes, argued that he didn’t orchestrate the scheme. She also said he did not immediately recognize that the iPhones he received were counterfeit. He made around $40,000 as per of the scam. This worked out as $20 or $30 per iPhone sent back to China.

“There’s a lot of students who are being duped by these employees in China, many of whom are still operating,’’ Howes told the court.

Student iPhone scammer: ‘I was naïve’

However, the court hit back that Jiang orchestrated the two-year “racket.” He also abused the trust of friends by using their names and addresses on the warranty claims made to “trick and defraud Apple.” The scam lasted from January 2016 through February 2018.

“Two years ago, I was so naïve, innocent, and kind of stupid as well,’’ Jiang said. “ I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart. I’m terribly sorry.’’

In addition to the prison sentence he has paid Apple $200,000 in restitution. This money came from the sale of his parents’ home in China. He was also ordered to forfeit his 2015 Mercedes-Benz. After his prison sentence, which starts December 5, he will likely face deportation. He will be GPS monitored until surrendering himself for prison.

Trafficking of counterfeit goods comes with a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. It additionally carries a maximum $2 million fine or 2x the proceeds of the scam.

Source: Oregon Live