TWO scammers involved in a $1.5 million Apple gift card scheme were sentenced to a combined eight years in federal prison, said US attorney for the northern district of Texas Chad E Meacham.
Syed Ali, 29, and Jason Tout-Puissant, 27, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2019, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Ali was sentenced in October 2021 and Tout-Puissant was sentenced on Monday (4).
Ali got 37 months in federal prison, and Tout-Puissant got 60 months and was ordered to pay $1.26m in restitution to Apple.
According to the statement, Tout-Puissant admitted that he stole multiple Apple point-of-sale devices – nicknamed “Isaacs” – from an Apple store in Southlake, Texas.
The scammer then sat outside the store, logged onto the store’s wifi network, and loaded thousands of dollars of fraudulent store credits onto gift cards.
He then loaded the giftcards onto Apple Passbook, an application that generates QR codes for the value of gift cards, and sent screenshots of those codes to Ali.
Later, they used those QR codes to purchase thousands of dollars worth of Apple products from brick-and-mortar retail stores in New York.
“If these defendants thought their million-dollar fraud would go unnoticed simply because they targeted a trillion-dollar company, they were sorely mistaken,” said attorney Meacham.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate fraud against any company, be it a multinational corporation or a mom-and-pop operation. We are grateful to our FBI partners for their work on this case.”
Dallas FBI special agent in charge Matthew J DeSarno said: “The FBI is committed to tackling fraud schemes from every angle, and the defendants will now be held accountable. This carefully orchestrated scheme resulted in financial loss for a large corporation, and that fraud also victimizes American consumers.”
The FBI’s Dallas field office has conducted the investigation into the case and assistant US attorney Sid Mody prosecuted the case.