A Chinese national and former engineering student at Linn Benton Community College in Albany was sentenced today Monday to 37 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for trafficking fake and altered Apple iPhones, federal prosecutors said.
According to court documents, between Jan. 1, 2016, and Feb. 1, 2018, Quan Jiang, 30, would regularly receive packages containing between 20 and 30 counterfeit iPhones from associates in Hong Kong.
Using various assumed names, Jiang would submit each iPhone to Apple in person or online for a warranty replacement; he would then ship the genuine replacement devices he received back to China for resale, prosecutors said.
In exchange for his service, Jiang’s associate would pay Jiang’s mother, also residing in China, who would in turn deposit the money into Jiang’s bank account.
Jiang’s scheme first came to the attention of law enforcement on April 20, 2017, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of 28 iPhone 6 devices en route to Jiang in Corvallis. Later that year, on Oct. 23, CBP seized a similar shipment of 25 iPhone 7 Plus devices addressed to Jiang.
In both instances, CBP sent Jiang a notice of seizure, indicating that Apple representatives had confirmed the phones were counterfeit. Nevertheless, three more shipments—each with 29 iPhones—were seized by CBP in November 2017, officials said.
Jiang later admitted to investigators that he knew the devices were counterfeit and that it was illegal to submit them to Apple as genuine products still under warranty.
In just over two years, Jiang imported more than 2,000 inoperable, counterfeit iPhones. He ultimately obtained about 1,500 genuine replacement iPhones, each with an approximate resale value of $600, the government said.
On April 25, 2018, Jiang pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon.