NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Federal prosecutors accused two Oregon college students of scamming Apple out of $900,000 by allegedly importing counterfeit iPhones and exchanging them for legitimate ones.
According to court documents, Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang sent fake iPhones back to Apple claiming they did not work. When the tech giant sent a new, legitimate replacement phone, the pair would sell them to a broker — usually overseas, according to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Oregon in March. Both students would get a cut of the profit, federal prosecutors allege. All of the sales were done online.
Zhou was a student at Oregon State in Corvallis, while Jiang attended Linn Benton Community College in Albany. Both were attending on legal foreign student visas.
The two men — both engineering students — said in an interview with investigators that they would pay friends and relatives to accept the replacement phones at addresses in China. Even Jiang’s mother was involved in the fraudulent scheme, according to investigators.
Jiang could face as much as 30 years in prison and $2 million in fines, if convicted. Zhou faces a $10,000 fine and a maximum of five years in prison.