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Apple defends security chief, accused of offering bribes of iPads for gun permits

The alleged scheme involved donating 200 iPads worth $70,000 to a sheriff's department in exchange for concealed-carry permits.

James Martin/CNET

Apple defended its chief security officer after he was charged with bribery for allegedly offering to donate hundreds of iPads to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office in exchange for concealed-carry weapons permits for Apple employees.

Thomas Moyer, Apple's head of global security, was indicted last week as part of a two-year investigation into the sheriff's office, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said Monday. Moyer allegedly agreed to donate 200 iPads worth $70,000 to the sheriff's office in exchange for four permits that had been withheld from Apple employees, the DA's office said in a statement. Apple is headquartered in Santa Clara County, at the heart of the Silicon Valley.

"He did nothing wrong and has acted with the highest integrity throughout his career," Moyer's lawyer, Ed Swanson, said in a statement. "We have no doubt he will be acquitted at trial."

Swanson added that Moyer was "collateral damage" in a bitter public dispute between the sheriff's department and the DA's office. Santa Clara Undersheriff Rick Sung and Capt. James Jensen, who allegedly requested the bribes, were also indicted.

Apple also defended Moyer, saying it "conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing."

"We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to Ars Technica. The company didn't respond to a request for further comment.

Security has become a key issue at tech companies in recent years as they've attracted more of the public's attention, along with threats of violence. In 2018, a shooter opened fire on employees at YouTube's headquarters in nearby San Bruno, wounding three workers before reportedly taking her own life.

Earlier this year, Apple was granted a temporary restraining order against a San Francisco man who allegedly showed up at Tim Cook's house with a bottle of champagne and flowers and on another occasion entered the Apple CEO's property without permission and made threatening statements.

The DA's office said that in Moyer's case, the iPads-for-gun permits deal was scuttled in August 2019 when officials at the sheriff's department who were involved in the scheme learned of the DA's investigation into the department's concealed-carry licenses.