Former Apple Store manager indicted for PPP fraud in the Apple Crime Blotter

Stolen Apple Watch leads to drug bust, Stanford newspaper weighs in on stolen MacBooks, and Utah governor signs adult filter law affecting Apple’s products. The latest in an occasional AppleInsider series, looking at the world of Apple-related crime. Former Apple Store manager indicted in $1.5 million PPP fraud case A man in Florida was indicted March 23 and charged with four counts of “fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain over $1,500,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans,” the Justice Department announced. The man, who was described by Forbes as a former Apple Store manager, is accused of stealing the identities of eight elderly people, one of whom was a relative. A long list of Apple devices, including several iPads, two iPhones, a MacBook Pro, and an Apple Time Capsule, were listed as having been searched as part of the indictment. The man’s LinkedIn page lists him as having worked as a senior manager at Apple in Aventura, Fla., between 2010 and 2012. He sued Apple in 2012, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the parties reached a settlement agreement the following year. College baseball player’s stolen Apple Watch leads to drug bust An Apple Watch was stolen in early March from a member of the LSU-Eunice baseball team. Once police used “Apple’s tracking technology” to track down the stolen Watch, it led to a man who not only had the item but turned out to have drugs packaged to sell. According to WAFA, the man who had the Apple Watch has been charged with third-degree receiving stolen property, and also faces charges of possession with intent to distribute, possession of controlled substances, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Student paper sees theft of MacBooks as a sign of university’s fiscal irresponsibility On March 22, a brother and sister in California pled guilty to federal charges related to the theft of hundreds of MacBooks from Stanford University, where the sister had a position that entailed ordering computers. The Department of Justice said the sister began stealing the computers and selling them for cash, then started giving the stolen MacBooks to her brother to sell, sometimes across state lines. Over the course of several years, the pair stole and sold more than 800 computers, costing the university about $4 million. The sister pled guilty to federal program theft, while her brother pled to conspiracy to transport stolen property interstate. The DOJ release refers to the institution in question only as “a private university in Stanford.” But in February, student journalists at The Stanford Review identified the school as Stanford University, and saw the affair as part of a pattern of the school’s administration losing track of large amounts of funds. ”Theft and fraud in the legal sense may not be routine at Stanford, but the waste and abuse of funds most certainly are,” the newspaper said. Utah governor signs porn filters law affecting device manufacturers The governor of Utah, Spencer Cox, has signed into law the controversial “Device Filter Amendments” legislation that would require smartphone and tablet producers to include automatic filters blocking adult content. According to The Hill, manufacturers who do not abide by the law will face fines of $10 for each violation, up to $500. However, the bill will only go into effect if five other states pass the same legislation, and the ACLU has already implied that it will seek to fight the new law in court. Despite foil, stolen iPad catches quartet of Polish burglars A group of high-end burglars who regularly traveled from Poland to the U.K. to rob English country homes was caught, after one of their victims tracked them with a stolen iPad. The Daily Mail reports the group used walkie-talkies to avoid being tracked by mobile phone signals, and had even spied on their targets using “powerful telescopes.” After five burglaries within a month, the crew was caught because of the iPad. Per the Mail, the thieves believed they could block the Find My iPhone tracking by wrapping the device in foil, but they were wrong. The quartet was sentenced to a total of 12 years and three months, and will be deported to Poland following their sentences. Walmart employee accused of stealing iPhone buyer’s identity A Walmart employee in Florida has been arrested for a scheme in which he stole identity information from customers and opened fraudulent lines of credit in their names. According to Naples News, a woman reported attempting to buy an iPhone at an area Walmart, at which point she was told the phone she wanted wasn’t available. Despite not buying a phone, she received a letter from Verizon, as well as a bill. Once the woman notified police, she learned that the Walmart employee had already been arrested four days earlier for similar crimes. He was charged with felony fraudulent use of ID, fraudulent obtaining credit over $300, and grand theft of $750-$5,000. Theft of multiple Apple items led to a multi-state chase, shooting of the suspect by officer An Alabama man received an alert from his home security system that there had been a break-in at his home, only to receive photos from the system of the thief holding his MacBook Pro. WAAY TV reports the thief took the homeowner’s MacBook, Apple Watch, and AirPods, as well as his truck, in which he soon fled. This kicked off a chase that crossed the state line into Tennessee, which the victim tracked himself using the Apple Watch signal. Eventually, after the accused thief had switched vehicles and commandeered a utility task vehicle, he was shot by a deputy. He survived and was charged with aggravated assault and evading arrest. Six people steal man’s iPhone on subway train A man had his iPhone 12 stolen on the New York City subway by a group of six people who surrounded him on the 7 train. The Jackson Heights Post writes one of the assailants pushed him into a seat while the others grabbed the phone and then got off the train at Junction Boulevard in Queens. Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, “Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider,” and you’ll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for “AppleInsider Daily” instead and you’ll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you’re interested in Apple-centric home automation, say “Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider,” and you’ll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.