A would-be crime lord was sentenced from 4.5 to 9 years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to grand larceny in the second degree in a New York court. Shaheed Bilal, his girlfriend, and family members have all pleaded guilty to purchasing stolen and fake credit card numbers online and using those numbers to purchase Apple products and then selling them.
According to Reuters, the ring purchased more than US$1 million in Apple iPads, iPhones, and products from its MacBook family, and then sold them to fences and other dealers in stolen goods in Brooklyn, NY. All have plead guilty to the charges in plea bargains rather than risk longer prison sentences by going to trial.
“This criminal organization was truly a family affair,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. The ring included Mr. Balil, his brothers Ali, Isaac, and Rahim, and Ophelia Alleyne, Mr. Balil’s girlfriend. Reuters reported that 16 people have been convicted in the case.
Apple products are often the target of theft, and this is because they command very high resell values. As such, bad guys can hit Apple Stores and third-party resellers, delivery people, or, as Mr. Balil’s ring did, buy them with stolen credit card numbers, and sell them for far more than they might, say, a Dell PC or a Samsung smartphone.
The FBI even got involved in investigating a string of Apple Store smash-and-grabs in 2011.