Two Chinese Nationals Convicted of Scheme to Defraud Apple of 5,000 iPhones

A federal jury in the District of Columbia convicted two Chinese nationals for participating in a sophisticated scheme in which they submitted more than 5,000 inauthentic phones to Apple Inc., intending to cause a loss of more than $3 million to Apple.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from May 2017 to September 2019, Haotian Sun, also known as Hao Sun, Jack Sun, and Frank Sun, 33, of Baltimore, MD, and Pengfei Xue, 33, of Germantown, MD, along with their co-conspirators, submitted counterfeit iPhones to Apple for repair to get Apple to exchange them with genuine replacement iPhones. Sun and Xue received shipments of inauthentic iPhones from Hong Kong at UPS mailboxes throughout the D.C. Metropolitan area. They then submitted the fake iPhones, with spoofed serial numbers and/or IMEI numbers, to Apple retail stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.

In 2017, Sun opened eight UPS Store mailboxes using his Maryland driver’s license and university identification card. U.S. postal inspectors arrested Sun and Xue in December 2019.

The jury convicted Sun and Xue of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They are scheduled to be sentenced on June 21 and each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, Inspector in Charge Damon Wood of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Washington Division, and Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington Field Office made the announcement.

USPIS and HSI investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Ryan Dickey of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kondi J. Kleinman for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.