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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 13, 2019

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty To Running Apple “Empty-Box” Fraud Scheme

SAN JOSE – Van-Seyla Mork pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose today to wire fraud and money laundering, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. 

In pleading guilty, Mork admitted to perpetrating a refund fraud scheme against Apple, Inc.  Specifically, Mork admitted that he initiated fraudulent complaints to Apple’s customer service department, each complaint alleging, on behalf of Apple customers, that a purchased Apple product had not been mailed to an Apple customer as it should have been, but that instead only an empty Apple box had been mailed to the Apple customer’s mailing address.  Mork further admitted that at the time he submitted these complaints, he knew these assertions were false and that Apple had, in fact, mailed the purchased products to the individual purchasers.  Through this fraudulent scheme, Mork admitted that he caused Apple to issue $1,000,000 in refunds for undelivered Apple products that had, in fact, been delivered.  Moreover, Mork admitted that he transferred the proceeds of this fraudulent scheme through various bank accounts with the intent of concealing the nature and location of these wire-fraud proceeds.   

Mork, 25, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was charged by an Information filed on November 30, 2018.  He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, five counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and four counts of money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(B)(i).  Under the plea agreement, Mork pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.  

Mork was released on bond.   Bail was set at $50,000.  

Mork’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 21, 2019 at 1:30 before the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Jose.  The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution and each count of money laundering in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000, plus restitution.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Jeff Schenk is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Tong Zhang.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
 

Updated May 13, 2019