Siblings plead guilty to offenses involving the sale of 800 stolen MacBooks

Patricia Castaneda, 37, of San Carlos, pleaded guilty today to federal program theft, and in a separate case, her brother Eric Castaneda, 36, of Redwood City, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Apple MacBook Air (2011)
Apple MacBook Air (2011)

According to court documents, Patricia Castaneda worked in the School of Humanities and Sciences at a private university in Stanford. In her position, Patricia Castaneda’s duties included ordering Apple MacBooks for university faculty and staff. In 2009 or 2010, Patricia Castaneda began stealing MacBooks she ordered and selling them for cash. Initially, Patricia Castaneda sold the MacBooks she stole to an individual she met on Craigslist. In February 2016, Patricia Castaneda began giving the stolen MacBooks to Eric Castaneda to sell to an individual in Folsom who, in turn, resold and shipped the MacBooks to buyers outside California.

In total, the cost to the university of MacBooks that Patricia Castaneda stole was over $4 million. That amount includes the cost to the university of approximately 800 stolen MacBooks Eric Castaneda sold to the individual in Folsom, which was approximately $2.3 million.

This case is a product of an investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Thuesen is prosecuting the case.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller is scheduled to sentence Patricia Castaneda and Eric Castaneda on June 7. Patricia Castaneda faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Eric Castaneda faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the court’s discretion after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California

MacDailyNews Take: According to the plea agreement, the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act requires the court to order restitution to the victims of certain offenses. The defendant agrees that her conduct is governed by the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act and agrees to pay restitution in the amount of $4,077,832 to the university.

11 Comments

  1. What kind of person stills 800 laptops allocated for the education of students? Collectively they stole 6.3 million in property and face 250,000 in fines and 10 years in prison. They will most likely serve a few years at most. All in all, Id say they made out like a smooth criminal, minus the fact they are crappy people that stole from students

      1. ok that makes it ok. Do you really think they will pay the money back ? But the real problem is they stole Mac books, if they would’ve stole chrome books no one would have ever cared. Heck maybe they would have been given a humanitarian reward if they would have kept chrome books out of the hands of the students ..

  2. “MacDailyNews Take: According to the plea agreement, the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act requires the court to order restitution to the victims of certain offenses. The defendant agrees that her conduct is governed by the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act and agrees to pay restitution in the amount of $4,077,832 to the university.”

    No problem, do you take personal checks?

  3. I sincerely hope they have to pay back every penny, including the fines and serve time in prison. It only seems fair. It’s quite amazing how a person can get away with such a crime for years before anyone catches on. I suppose when only one person has charge of purchasing supplies, there’s no one to check on them. 800 MacBooks simply disappearing? That’s really astounding.

  4. “Hello Patricia Castaneda, welcome to the McDonald’s interview. I’ve looked over your resume here, and it does seem a bit ‘challenging’ for you to join our hamburger flipper army. Before we go further into our interview, Patricia, could you please give your salary expectations, as a basis to continue forward.”

    “Oh, yeah … right. Well, you see, it’s like this. I have a little ‘bill’ I need to cover … uh, so I thought I better, sorta, ya know, like ‘git it in gear’. So, like, I am gonna need 4 mil from you. Yes, yes, its, like, high, but maybe we can ‘work together’ on it, like, I could buy your fry fryers for you and send em around …. I’m good at that. OK?”

    1. Ms. Castaneda lived in San Carlos, California, which dates back to a Spanish land grant before Mexico even existed. Her brother lived in Redwood City, which is the adjacent county seat of San Mateo County, which was settled 80 years before California joined the US. There was nothing in the story (or that I could find online) to suggest that the criminal siblings were not born in the United States, or that their ancestors came from Mexico… much less that Mexico sent them here.

  5. Crime pays well if she didn’t touch the money and bought AAPL shares during that time. Delay as long as possible, pay off the fines slowly by liquidating only what’s required of the AAPL shares. Ends up with a tidy profit.

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