FBI busts trio for selling stolen Apple iPhones, Macbooks from mall kiosk

FBI looking to thwart mobile device thefts from Washington-area transit riders

The FBI said today it had arrested three mall cell phone kiosk workers for buying stolen iPhones and other Apple products and selling them for profit.

The FBI said the arrests were based on an investigation of a large number of mobile devices stolen from riders of the region's mass transportation system, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, more commonly known as Metro.   

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According to the FBI: The Metro Transit Police Department arrested an individual following a robbery on the Metro Green Line on Jan. 14, 2010, and the defendant indicated that employees working at a phone kiosk in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City were willing to pay cash for stolen Apple products. In an effort to corroborate the information, undercover officers from the Arlington County Police Department approached at least two cell phone kiosks at Fashion Centre on March 5, 2010.

The undercover officers allegedly brokered sales of stolen iPhones and Macbooks with two brothers: Farid Ahmad, aka "Fred," 33, and Naeem Ahmad, 31, both of Woodbridge, Va. The brothers first worked at a PCC Wireless kiosk at Fashion Centre and later worked at kiosks in the Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, Va., and at other locations in Virginia. A series of transactions allegedly culminated in a May 25, 2011, sale of 27 iPhones and 14 Macbooks for $6,400. The brothers were arrested when the items were allegedly placed in the trunk of their car.

The FBI said that on July 28, 2011, Farid and Naeem Ahmad were charged in a three-count indictment accused of conspiracy, the purchase, receipt and possession of electronics stolen from an interstate carrier, and receipt of stolen goods. The maximum penalties for the two substantive offenses involving the purchase, receipt, and possession of the stolen electronics are 10 years each. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Both men are scheduled for a jury trial on Nov. 16, 2011.  In a separate two-count indictment Ahmer Aslam, aka "Don," 27, of Dumfries, Va., was charged with the purchase, receipt and possession of electronics stolen from an interstate carrier, and receipt of stolen goods. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of the indictment. He is scheduled for a jury trial on Oct. 19, 2011.

Aslam was a sales clerk at the Cellaris cell phone accessories kiosk at a mall known as Fashion Centre and allegedly brokered sales of stolen Apple products in a series of transactions with undercover officers after he was first approached in an undercover operation on March 5, 2011. He was arrested after allegedly paying $16,000 in exchange for 28 iPhones and 14 Macbook computers, the FBI said.

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