Two Men Sentenced to Combined 13 Years in $1.5 Million Apple Gift Card Scheme.
(STL.News) The perpetrators of a $1.5 million Apple gift card scheme have been sentenced to a combined 13 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Syed Ali, 29, and his co-conspirator, Jason Tout-Puissant, 27, both pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2019. Mr. Ali was sentenced in October 2021 by U.S. District Judge David Godbey to 37 months in federal prison; Mr. Tout-Puissant was sentenced today by the same judge to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.26 million in restitution to Apple.
According to plea papers, Mr. Tout-Puissant admitted that he stole multiple Apple point-of-sale devices – nicknamed “Isaacs” – from an Apple store in Southlake, Texas, 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 Mr. Ali.
In his plea papers, Mr. Ali admitted that he and an unindicted coconspirator used those QR codes to purchase thousands of dollars worth of Apple products from brick-and-mortar retail stores in New York.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy involved more than $1.5 million in fraudulently obtained Apple gift cards.
“If these defendants thought their million-dollar fraud would go unnoticed simply because they targeted a trillion-dollar company, they were sorely mistaken,” said U.S. Attorney Chad 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.”
“The FBI is committed to tackling fraud schemes from every angle, and today the defendants will now be held accountable,” said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “This carefully orchestrated scheme resulted in financial loss for a large corporation, and that fraud also victimizes American consumers.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation. The New York Field Office assisted with Mr. Ali’s arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sid Mody prosecuted the case.