Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Jail for Fake iPhone Scam Targeting Apple

Zhiwei Allen Liao receives a 51-month prison sentence for orchestrating a scam that cost Apple over $6 million.

  • Zhiwei Allen Liao receives a 51-month prison sentence for orchestrating a scam that cost Apple over $6 million.
  • The scheme involved obtaining fake iPhones and iPads from China, then swapping real serial numbers onto the counterfeit devices to claim replacements under warranty.
  • Liao’s careful management of the operation and attempts to evade law enforcement led to a severe sentence, highlighting the seriousness of his actions.

Zhiwei Allen Liao, along with his brothers, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in a sophisticated scam targeting Apple. The scheme, which involved procuring fake iPhones and iPads from China, netted the trio over $1 million before their eventual arrest. Liao’s methodical organization of the operation and efforts to evade detection by law enforcement contributed to the severity of his sentence, as determined by Judge Cynthia Ann Bashant.

The fraudulent operation exploited Apple’s warranty system by swapping real serial numbers onto counterfeit devices, which were then presented as defective for replacement at Apple stores. This elaborate deception cost Apple upwards of $6 million in replaced devices. The FBI and the San Diego Police Department collaborated to uncover the scam, ultimately bringing Liao and his accomplices to justice. Special Agent Stacey Moy of the FBI San Diego emphasized the significance of dismantling such criminal enterprises, stating that Liao’s sentencing marks a significant milestone in shutting down a major global counterfeit goods operation.