Chinese national sentenced to U.S. federal prison for counterfeit iPhone trafficking scheme

“A Chinese national was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release on Tuesday for his part in a counterfeit iPhone trafficking scheme that defrauded Apple out of an estimated $900,000 in warranty replacement,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider:

Today’s sentencing of Quan Jiang, 30, comes more than a year after the former Linn Benton Community College engineering student pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods in April 2018… Earlier this year, Jiang and former Oregon State University engineering student Yangyang Zhou were fingered by federal agents investigating a counterfeiting scheme involving Apple’s hardware warranty policies. Both Jiang and Zhou carried out the illicit plan while in the U.S. on student visas.

Between January 2016 and February 2018, Jiang would regularly receive inoperable counterfeit iPhones — 20 and 30 at a time — from connections in Hong Kong and send the hardware to Apple, or carry it in to a brick-and-mortar store, for warranty replacement. Genuine articles were sent back to China for subsequent resale…

In all, Jiang imported more than 2,000 counterfeit iPhones during the two-year span, some 1,500 of which were traded in for replacements that carried a value of approximately $600 apiece.

MacDailyNews Take: You can thank criminals like Jiang and Zhou for that 1% of iPhone users who claim to be “unsatisfied.”

If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.

And, yes, as we wrote back in May, “Apple’s ability to identify real iPhones from counterfeits, regardless of whether they power on or not needs some tweaking.”

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