Six Apple store employees in Florida are facing charges over an alleged scheme that would see them replace more than 600 stolen iPhones with new devices taken from store inventory.
The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports:
How did the scheme work? Since April, thieves who posed as customers at the store handed stolen iPhones to employees in the ring and exchanged them for new iPhones, police said. Each Apple employee in the ring was paid between $45 and $75 for carrying out a fraudulent transaction, police said.
A seventh person, Best Buy Mobile employee Sean Flynn, 25, of Davie, provided serial numbers from cellphones at Best Buy Mobile. Part of the scheme hinged on Apple employees using that information to assign cellphone serial numbers to the new iPhones at the Apple store, police said.
The ruse for the exchange was that the stolen phones were supposedly defective and the outgoing new ones were being recorded as warranty replacements.
Police were alerted to the scheme by an Apple loss-prevention manager.
How that manager caught on isn’t exactly clear, but the story says the stolen phones were returned to an Apple facility in California, where it might be assumed that the arrival of 600 reportedly defective phones from a single store over a few months would raise a red flag.