FBI: Elaborate $1 million Verizon iPhone, iPad fraud busted

Chicago man preyed on Verizon, used FedEx employees to steal $1M worth of Apple iPhones, iPads

The FBI said a man admitted he ripped off more than $1 million worth of iPhones and iPads from Verizon Wireless using an elaborate scheme that involved misappropriating corporate purchasing accounts and bribing Federal Express drivers.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Stephen Gunn of Chicago, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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According to court documents Gunn got into online accounts of dozens of Verizon's customers, including several customers located in New Jersey, and used those accounts to buy unauthorized electronic products, primarily, smart phones and accessories. He directed the fraudulently ordered products be shipped to addresses in Texas, including several addresses that did not exist, via Federal Express.

At Gunn's direction, two Federal Express drivers intercepted the shipments, removed the contents, and re-shipped the contents to addresses in Illinois provided by Gunn. In exchange, Gunn paid the drivers each thousands of dollars. Gunn fraudulently obtained approximately 1,700 items-including several hundred Apple iPhones and iPads, Blackberry devices, and Motorola phones-worth more than $1 million, the FBI said.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2014.

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