Modern thieves just too smart.


AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Don’t try this at home, kids as they will eventually get you.

Two engineering students in Oregon are accused of trying to swap fake iPhones for new ones. Federal prosecutors, according to the Oregonian, say the students imported more than 2,000 fake iPhones and sent them back to Apple for exchanges.

Once they got the new ones, they sent the real ones back to China for resale, via a middleman, prosecutors say. 

Lawyers for Yangyang Zhou and Quan Jiang, who are in the United States on student visas, told the Oregonian they would be vindicated. 

According to the Verge, Apple actually accepted their return requests, which cost the company $895,800, according to the complaint. 

Jiang, in the complaint, told prosecutors that Apple never informed him that the phones were stolen or counterfeit.

However, the investigation has been going on since 2017, when prosecutors sent cease-and-desist letters to Jiang, accusing him of selling counterfeit goods. In the prosecutor’s notes, he said that Jiang admitted to handing in over 2,000 phones to Apple for replacements. Additionally, he said the money he received for his time and effort went to his mother back home in China, who would deposit the proceeds in an account he could access in the U.S.

Apple Store employees accepted the phones for return under Apple’s warranty because the pair was able to prove that the fake phones couldn’t power on. 

Apple isn’t the first company to get hit this way, notes the Verge, reporting the sale of fake iPhones and iPads in New Jersey last year, and a Lithuanian man who pleaded guilty to sending phony invoices to Google and Facebook, saying he was a Taiwanese hardware company.

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2 college students are accused of cheating Apple out of $900,000 using fake iPhones

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