FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. - A Chicago man today admitted he stole more than $1 million worth of iPhones and iPads from Verizon Wireless through an elaborate scheme that involved misappropriating corporate purchasing accounts and then diverting the shipments by bribing Federal Express drivers, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Stephen Gunn, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Gunn accessed the online accounts of dozens of Verizon’s customers, including several customers located in New Jersey, and used those accounts to place unauthorized orders for electronics products, primarily, smart phones and accessories. He directed the fraudulently ordered products be shipped to addresses in Texas, including several addresses that did not exist, via Federal Express.
At Gunn’s direction, two Federal Express drivers intercepted the shipments, removed the contents, and re-shipped the contents to addresses in Illinois provided by Gunn. In exchange, Gunn paid the drivers each thousands of dollars. Gunn fraudulently obtained approximately 1,700 items—including several hundred Apple iPhones and iPads, Blackberry devices, and Motorola phones—worth more than $1 million.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud count to which Gunn pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel V. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Crimes Section of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: David Holman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark