Elaborate Scheme Used to Steal $1M in Electronics

Prosecutors say the scheme involved misappropriating corporate purchasing accounts and diverting the shipments

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014  |  Updated 4:35 PM CDT
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Elaborate Scheme Used to Steal $1M in Electronics

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say a Chicago man has admitted stealing more than $1 million worth of iPhones and iPads from Verizon Wireless.

Stephen Gunn used an elaborate scheme that involved misappropriating corporate purchasing accounts and diverting the shipments by bribing Federal Express drivers. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced July 15.

Prosecutors say Gunn accessed the online accounts of dozens of Verizon's customers, including several in New Jersey, and used those accounts to place unauthorized orders for electronics products, primarily smart phones and accessories. He had the products be shipped to addresses in Texas, including several addresses that did not exist.

At Gunn's direction, two Federal Express drivers intercepted the shipments, removed the contents and re-shipped the contents to addresses in Illinois that Gunn provided. In exchange, Gunn paid each driver thousands of dollars.

Overall, Gunn fraudulently obtained about 1,700 items — including several hundred Apple iPhones and iPads, Blackberry devices and Motorola phones worth more than $1 million.

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