24-year-old Edward Hornsey has been jailed after profiting from a loophole in the Apple customer care system.
Hornsey sent 51 used iPhones to Apple, and was surprised when they sent him brand new handsets in return. He bought second-hand phones and sent them off to be replaced, and Apple had no idea that one man was responsible for swapping so many phones, write Adam Smith and Sam Webb for The Daily Mirror.
Fraudster knowingly dealt in stolen Apple iPhones
After receiving the new phones from Apple, Hornsey would sell them on through Gumtree and eBay. However his scheme came to a sticky end when police raided his home and found that 45 of the 51 phones had been registered as lost or stolen. Hornsey was jailed for 6 months for his exploitation of the loophole.
The young enterpreneur placed adverts on the internet to find second-hand phones, but did not ask any questions about their provenance. Even after checks on the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) revealed that they were “dodgy”, he would still send them off to Apple. His cavalier attitude would later land him in hot water.
Hornsey effectively found a way to use Apple Care to “launder” stolen cellphones, and did so even when he knew that they had been reported stolen. He later admitted cheating the system after police found that one of the cellphones was connected to a burglary.
He checked 25 of the phones, and therefore knew that he was dealing in stolen goods. The court contacted Apple and the company acknowledged that they did not check the identity of Apple Care customers.
Judge jails man as example to others
The judge jailed Hornsey to set an example to others who might be considering exploiting the same loophole. Neil Bidder QC told Hornsey: “this was a calculated fraud and you knew exactly what you were doing – if people like you were completely honest fewer mobile phones would be stolen. It is an extremely large problem in this country at this present time, they are magnets for theft.”
Hornsey appeared to do quite well for himself from the fraudulent scheme, with his Facebook page showing him on holiday in Egypt, riding motorbikes and wearing expensive clothes.
Over the course of a year he managed to take Apple for a ride, exploiting the company’s generous Apple Care system.