Feds File Charges against Fake iPod Repairman

Federal prosecutors recently filed felony fraud and money-laundering charges against a Michigan man who is accused of duping Apple into sending him more than 9,000 replacement iPod Shuffles. According to court documents, Nicholas Woodhams of Kalamazoo, Mich. received 9,075 iPod Shuffles from Apple by entering valid serial numbers on Apple’s Online Service Assistant website. This website provides users with replacement iPods for defective devices that are under warranty. After receiving the iPods, Woodhams turned around and sold them for $49 apiece.

Woodhams ran an iPod repair business under the names iPod Mechanic, iMechanic, and Pod Tradeup. He had websites under the first two business names. Those sites have since been taken down.

Woodhams apparently discovered that he could guess valid, warranted serial numbers and enter them into Apple’s website to receive a replacement unit without ever purchasing a unit. Through the program, you must provide a credit card number that can be charged $1 for a preauthorization fee. Woodhams used Visa-branded gift cards for the preauthorization and had the replacement units sent to a box at a local UPS store. When Apple did not receive the defective unit Woodhams was suppose to return to Apple under the repair agreement terms, Apple attempted to charge the cards for the cost of the iPod. By then, the gift cards had already been exhausted so Apple was out of luck.

The charges against Woodhams claim he compiled a list of manufactured or guessed iPod Shuffle serial numbers on an almost daily basis during the course of the scheme which lasted from March 2006 to October 2007. During that time, he sent more than 5,000 packages containing the stolen Apple hardware using the U.S. Postal Service.

Last June, Apple filed its own lawsuit against Woodhams, alleging he had fraudulently manipulated the replacement program. At that time, Apple asked the court to bar him from continuing his practice. Apple’s reported losses from the scam were $75,000. Apple’s lawsuit is currently on hold as a result of the recently filed federal criminal charges.

Via:  ComputerWorld
Tags:  Apple, iPod, Lawsuit
3vi1 5 years ago

>> Apple’s reported losses from the scam were $75,000

But if he sold them at $49, he made $441,000. Is Apple saying that iPods actually only cost them $8.27 each?

tanka12345 5 years ago

Interesting scam, but how could Apple never discover it? And great thinking 3vi1, I wonder how Ipods actually cost to make.

kid007 5 years ago

talk about a creative way to scam a multi billion dollar company. the cool thing is they guy is from michigan :p

Der Meister 5 years ago

with apple its all about the name... thats what you pay for...

ice91785 5 years ago

I find it hard to believe he "guessed" serial numbers --- I am willing to bet he cracked a serial number algorithm or something close; or do they just go in a numeric order?

Anyway, $441,000 is a pretty good chunk of change ... he probably would have gotten away with it if he stopped after he hit $100,000 hmm? Apple was bound to find out eventually yes?

3vi1 5 years ago

I don't know about iPods, but in other devices, a lot of the serial numbers will be consistent for place of manufacture, year, version, etc. He probably wrote a simple script that hit thier site repeatedly trying to register all of the other places with random numbers (and got caught as a result of so many mistries).

Jeremy 5 years ago

>> During that time, he sent more than 5,000 packages containing the stolen Apple hardware using the U.S. Postal Service.

See, that's where he went really wrong. The Post Office may seem sorta rude and uncaring sometimes, but mail fraud is federal crime which gets the FBI involved. Felonies never look good on your work record either, iPod repairman or not.

savage animal 5 years ago

Jeremy is right, that is where his big problem lies. He is federally F****ed now.

ice91785 5 years ago

Which means he will not be around to vote in George Bush the 3rd into the oval office Wink

mentaldisorder 5 years ago

That's pretty awesome...guessing serial numbers. He's good...except for the whole getting caught thing.

TArmstrong 4 years ago

My fake ipod headphones didn't let me hear the lyrics.

I find this website very helpful


The website provides support for fake ipod users

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