A former Oregon college student was sentenced Monday to three years and one month in federal prison for his role in a massive Apple iPhone tracking scam, according to reports.
Quan Jiang, a Chinese national and former engineering student at a community college in Albany, Ore., pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. He faced a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
Between January 2016 and February 2018, Jiang sent around 3,000 fake iPhones, imported from Hong, to Apple, saying they wouldn’t turn on and should be replaced under warranty, prosecutors said.
Apple responded by sending almost 1,500 replacement iPhones, each with an approximate resale value of $600. The elaborate scheme cost the company nearly $1 million, OPB reported.
U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut called Jiang’s fraud “ongoing and calculated,” resulting in “a very serious offense.”
Jiang’s attorney, Celia Howes, argued her client deserved probation because the scheme involved bigger players in China who were responsible for manufacturing the fake iPhones. She reduced Jiang’s role in the scheme to: “receive, send in, return.”
Addressing the judge through a translator, Jiang said he has changed since committing the fraud and referred to himself back then as “naïve, innocent, and kind of stupid,” the Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.
It’s likely Jiang will be deported back to China after his imprisonment because is no longer eligible to reside in the United States. Jiang has paid $200,000 in restitution to the company.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Bounds, who prosecuted the case, said he’s witnessed similar schemes play out before. He noted that such fraud could play a detrimental role in big companies like Apple changing warranty policies.