Chinese National, Haiteng Wu Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Apple Inc.
Defendant Also Must Pay Nearly $1 Million in Restitution
WASHINGTON (STL.News) Haiteng Wu, 32, of the People’s Republic of China, was sentenced today to serve 26 months in prison for participating in a three-year conspiracy to defraud Apple Inc. out of more than $1 million.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and Greg Torbenson, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge for the Washington Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Wu pleaded guilty in May 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Today, the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan sentenced Wu to the time he already has served in custody, which amounts to approximately 26 months. He also ordered Wu to pay $987,000 in restitution and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Judge Sullivan previously ordered Wu to forfeit his interests in two condominium units, one in McLean, Virginia, the other in Arlington, Virginia. Wu purchased the Arlington condominium for cash during the conspiracy.
According to publicly filed court documents, Wu immigrated to the United States in 2013 to study engineering. After earning his Master’s Degree in 2015, he secured lawful employment in the United States, but then embarked on a roughly 3 ½-year-long scheme to defraud Apple. As part of the scheme, Wu and other conspirators received shipments of inauthentic iPhones from Hong Kong. Those phones contained spoofed IMEI numbers and serial numbers that corresponded with authentic in-warranty iPhones. The conspirators then returned the inauthentic phones to Apple, claiming that the phones were legitimate, in-warranty phones, all in an effort to receive authentic replacement iPhones from Apple. The fraudulently obtained authentic iPhones were then shipped back to conspirators overseas, including in Hong Kong.
Wu, who most recently was residing in McLean, Virginia, recruited others, including his wife, Jiahong Cai, and Teang Liu to participate in the conspiracy. Wu also procured fake identification documents, used aliases, opened multiple commercial mail receiving agency mailboxes, and arranged for members of the conspiracy to travel throughout the United States.
In total, Wu acknowledged defrauding Apple out of nearly $1 million and intending to defraud the company out of even more money.
Wu, Cai, and Liu were arrested in December 2019, and Wu has been in custody since that time. Like her husband, Cai pleaded guilty in May 2020 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Judge Sullivan sentenced Cai, a Chinese national, to time served following her guilty plea. She spent just over five months in custody. Liu, 37, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty to that same offense in February 2021, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 10, 2022.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kondi Kleinman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia’s Fraud Section, and Senior Counsel Ryan K.J. Dickey of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. They were assisted by Paralegal Specialists Michon Tart, Mariela Andrade, Amanda Rohde, and Brian Rickers, former Paralegal Specialists Jessica Mundi, Brittany Phillips, and Angeline Thekkumthala, and Records Examiner Angela De Falco.