A New York crime ring that allegedly stole hundreds of iPhones over the past seven years has been busted, according to Quartz. All told, the group reportedly got its hands on more than $19 million worth of the devices.
Six people were charged in the case, which was filed by federal prosecutors in New York state in April. The complaint was just unsealed, according to Quartz. The felony charges range from mail fraud to conspiracy to identity theft.
It's not unusual for scammers to focus their efforts on Apple's iPhones given the device's high price tag, which can run as much as $1,450 per phone.
Just a couple of months ago, a pair of Chinese engineering students studying in Oregon allegedly conned Apple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by stealing more than $1 million worth of iPhones.. And last year, another New York group was nabbed for allegedly
The group that was most recently caught reportedly ran a scam in which some members used stolen identities to pose as cellphone subscribers. With fake IDs and debit cards they'd allegedly go to mobile phone stores across the US and say they wanted to upgrade their phones to a new iPhone. Then they reportedly shipped the iPhones back to the crime ring's New York headquarters. People there would allegedly sell the iPhones on the black market.
The cellphone subscribers whose identities were stolen ended up being charged for the upgraded phones, according to Quartz. The crime ring reportedly signed the victims up for monthly payments, so that they wouldn't notice the charges right away.
Court filings didn't specify how many people were allegedly affected and how many phones were reportedly stolen, but in one incident 250 phones were discovered in dozens of packages being sent to New York.
The crime ring was ultimately busted by an unnamed person who worked at an overnight shipping service and became suspicious of all of the packages being sent out of state that weren't addressed to a physical business or home address.
A trial is pending for the six people charged in the scam, according to Quartz. They all pleaded not guilty and were released on $100,000 bonds.
Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.