They replace iPhones in stores with fake ones, causing Apple to lose 5.6 million euros

apple warehouse

It is quite common to see theft of iPhones and other Apple devices with loot exceeding one million euros. Every thief has his own plan, from the most complex to the most straightforward. Today’s fraud falls between these two extremes. In fact, Zhiwei “Allen” Liao did not mince words: he and his accomplices went directly to the store to secretly seize the goods. However, where things get difficult is the technique used to avoid getting caught.

So Zhiwei Liao turned to a Chinese knockoff manufacturer who made perfect replicas of iPhones and iPads, straining the vise to the point of reproducing the actual serial number of the devices in question. The leader then sent two accomplices, who happened to be members of his own family, with their hands full of these fake smartphones and tablets. The latter was then responsible for traveling around the country to Apple Stores and making the change, which was neither seen nor known.

These shameless scammers stole millions from Apple

Once we received the actual devices, the accomplices made a significant profit by shipping them directly to China and selling them cheaply. In total, the Liao family’s loot is estimated at $6.1 million or 5.6 million euros, making it one of the most lucrative schemes discovered to date. When the deception was revealed, Apple simply replaced the fakes with real ones.

Zhiwei Liao was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Courts also seized two of his homes, $120,730 in cash and at least 200 Apple devices. “This is a massive and complex fraud that affects not only Apple, but thousands of Apple product owners across North America,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath.

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