Haiteng Wu, a 32-year-old Chinese engineer who arrived in the United States in 2013, was sentenced to 26 months in prison for tricking Apple with fake iPhones. His scam cost Apple more than $1 million.
For about three and a half years, Haiteng Wu and others received several packages containing hundreds of counterfeit and non-working iPhones from partners in Hong Kong. The phones contained fake IMEI and serial numbers that matched genuine iPhones under warranty.
The gang was responsible for sending the fake devices back to Apple, using fake names, claiming that the supposed iPhones no longer worked and had to be exchanged knowing that they were under warranty. Apple didn’t see the deception and effectively replaced the devices with real iPhones. The Chinese engineer then took care of sending the real iPhones back to Hong Kong.
Several partners, including Haiteng Wu’s wife, participated in this scam. They provided false identity documents and used several addresses. Upon arrival, the fraud exceeded one million dollars and the engineer admits that he intended to continue if he had not been caught.
US justice says the gang was arrested in December 2019. Haiteng Wu pleaded guilty in May 2020 to one count of conspiring to commit mail fraud. This week, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sentenced the engineer to the time he had already served in custody and ordered him to pay $987,000 in restitution and an equal amount in a forfeiture money judgment. For her part, the wife is sentenced to five months in prison.