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Press Release

Two Charlotte Businessmen Are Sentenced To Prison For Selling Fraudulently Obtained New iPhones Overseas

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar, 31, and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, 35, both of Charlotte, were each sentenced today to 46 months in prison for a multi-year scheme to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones to domestic and international buyers, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The defendants were also ordered to serve three years under court supervision after they are released from prison.

Jason Byrnes, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from 2013 through 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat engaged in a scheme to purchase fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices, which they then sold and shipped to buyers located in other states and foreign countries, including dozens of packages to the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Alasfar and Alkhayyat operated multiple businesses located in Charlotte, including Cellport International Inc. (Cellport) and D Town Wireless (D Town), which the defendants used to carry out the scheme. The defendants and their employees at D Town and Cellport purchased new iPhones, which were often still sealed in the box, at prices significantly below retail value from individuals who obtained the devices through fraud and theft. Between January 2019 and January 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat sold and shipped through Cellport more than 20,000 new iPhones for more than $20 million, many of which were fraudulently obtained. 

On March 2, 2023, the defendants pleaded guilty to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property. They will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their prison terms upon designation of a federal facility.

This case was the result of the investigative efforts of CMPD and the Secret Service, which have established a fully integrated partnership to combat organized criminal groups operating in Charlotte. Through this partnership, this unit has successfully leveraged local and federal resources, personnel, expertise and authorities to identify and combat the criminals and criminal organizations that have the largest negative impact on the community.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys William T. Bozin and Michael E. Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

Updated August 30, 2023

Financial Fraud