Viral stolen iPhone video charges and $200,000 MacBook thefts in the Apple Crime Blotter


Men accused of using SBA loans for Apple purchases, pardons for Apple-related offenders, and iCloud leads to charges against the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation in this week’s Apple Crime Blotter.

The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at news from the world of Apple-related crime:

Two Massachusetts men have been brought up on federal charges alleging they fraudulently obtained disaster loans from the Small Business Administration for a scheme that involved buying large numbers of iPhones for resale.

According to the Department of Justice press release, the two 24-year-olds have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for the alleged scheme to “use stolen identity information of United States citizens to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.” The funds were allegedly used to open bogus bank accounts, which the government says the two men used to spend $250,000 on the iPhones.

A video went viral days after Christmas, depicting a woman accusing the person taking the video, a 14-year-old boy, of stealing her iPhone. The teenager, who is the son of Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold, shot the video in the lobby of a New York City hotel, repeatedly stating that the phone was his until the woman ultimately tried to grab the phone from him.

A post shared by Keyon Harrold (@keyonharrold)

The New York Post reports the New York Police Department says itplans to charge the woman from the video— who has not been identified — with harassment and assault, and possibly grand larceny or attempted robbery.

President Donald Trump’s slew of pardons in his final weeks in office included multiple individuals who had been convicted of crimes related to Apple products and services. Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, both former advisers to Trump’s 2016 campaign, had been convicted in part on the basis of evidence obtained from their iPhone accounts.

In addition, former Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, who also received a pardon, had pled guilty to improperly using campaign funds, including on two separate occasions that he made purchases at Apple Store locations. Margaret Hunter, the Congressman’s estranged wife and onetime codefendant, was pardoned as well.

A reputed criminal organization known as Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation, which includes the well-known rap artist known as Casanova, was indicted by the Justice Department on December 1. The group of 18 was charged with a wide variety of federal crimes — including racketeering, murder, narcotics, firearms, and fraud charges — and according to New York magazine, evidence came from the iCloud account of one of the members.

That iCloud included a detailed chart of the organization’s hierarchy and each member’s responsibilities. The chart also included references to “A LIST OF ENEMIES THAT HAS TO BE CRUSHED ON SIGHT.”

A man who works in data administration at the University of California, Berkeley has pled guilty to charges of stealing more than $200,000 worth of MacBooks. The Sacramento Bee states the 41-year-old university employee had purchased the computers for the use of faculty and staff, but instead sold them, always to the same buyer.

The man had a connection to purchase MacBooks directly from Apple, access to a university-issued credit card, and the ability to make purchases without question as long as they didn’t exceed a certain threshold each month. In addition to his guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate, the man agreed to make restitution.

Five men were caught on security footage stealing $12,000 worth of Apple products, which appeared to be display items, from a Best Buy location in Dover, Delaware, in early December. The Dover Post reports the men cut security cables, grabbed the items, and fled the store in a silver Infiniti G35x.

In other news involving Best Buy and Apple product theft in Delaware, two men were arrested in mid-December on charges of theft, identity theft and conspiracy. Delaware State Police say the two men stole two purses and used the credit cards and gift cards therein for illegal purchases.

Troopers “recovered over $1,200 in gift cards purchased from Target and over $3,700 of Apple products purchased at Best Buy using the stolen credit cards.”

A 52-year-old man who worked for a courier firm admitted in court that he stole 13 iPhone 11 handsets from a loading bay in February. According to The Independent the man, in the process of pleading guilty, admitted that he had sought treatment for gambling addiction.

The village clerk in the Westchester County town of Pomona has been charged with official misconduct after police say she illegally recorded an executive session of the Village Board with her iPhone, which had been hidden on the floor behind a desk. The Rockland/Westchester Journal News writes the scheme was caught when the phone rang during the meeting, and the woman’s voice could be heard on the phone’s recording. The woman’s attorney told the newspaper that his client has been “wrongfully accused.”

A 49-year-old man has been arrested and charged with three counts of burglary, after police say he was caught on camera entering closed businesses in one particular building and taking electronics. According to Scoop Nashville, one of the alleged thefts, of an iPad Pro and iPad accessories, was from the offices of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

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