Monday, December 4, 2023

Charlotte businessmen sentenced in multi-million dollar iPhone scam

Two Charlotte businessmen were sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison Wednesday for their part in a more than $20 million iPhone scheme that involved selling stolen cellphones to buyers overseas.

Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar, 31, and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, 35, each received prison sentences of 46 months. They will also have to serve three years under court supervision after their release from prison.

From 2013 through 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat participated in a scheme to buy, sell and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices to domestic and international buyers, according to Dena J. King, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Buyers came from other states and foreign countries, including dozens of packages to the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, according to court records

Alasfar and Alkhayyat operated multiple Charlotte businesses, including Cellport International Inc. and D Town Wireless, which the defendants used to carry out the scheme. Alasfar and Alkhayyat, 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.

Alasfar and Alkhayyat both pleaded guilty in March to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property. 

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