Police Crack Down on Fake iPhones Sold Online

Police Crack Down on Fake iPhones Sold Online


A 54-year-old man from Naples, Italy will spend the next 37 months in jail after being arrested and found guilty on a series of charges, namely conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, smuggling goods into the US, structuring financial transactions, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Rosario La Marca put together an international group whose main activity was importing fake iPhones, iPods, and iPads in the United States using members in a series of other locations, including in China.

A Chinese manufacturer called Jianhua Li and based in Hong Kong received $1.1 million for manufacturing fake devices, with the group managing to smuggle no less than 40,000 such devices in the United States.

The goods, however, were fully assembled in the United States, with all devices shipped without the Apple logos to get past the customs. The logos, instead, were shipped separately and applied at offices in New Jersey and Florida by two other members who were in charge of preparing all electronics for being shipped to customers in the country.

5-year scam

The fake iPhones were mostly sold online, and all the money made from selling them were transferred to bank accounts in Italy in batches of less than $10,000, according to The Reg. This way, the smugglers hoped that authorities in the United States and Italy wouldn’t notice the transfers, which would have triggered an investigation into how the money was being made.

Law enforcement, however, eventually discovered the ring and started an investigation, with 5 different shipments being intercepted. According to court papers, the first kits were smuggled into the United States in July 2009, and the illegal activity continued until February 2014 when the 3 scammers were finally arrested.

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La Marca and the other two members of the ring pleaded guilty, while the Chinese in charge of manufacturing the fake kits decided to go to court, claiming he’s innocent. The Italian who put together the group will spend 37 months in prison and then will be put on supervised release for one more year.

It’s not known if Apple was involved in the investigation, but the company has every reason to be happy about it, especially because the network brought thousands of fake iPhones in its domestic market.

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