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School employee stole 3,000 Apple iPods and resold them on eBay

Apple devices are sought after, and some people cannot resist the temptation to steal them. An American school employee has been sentenced to prison for stealing 3,000 of them.

Kristy Stock, a 46 years old resident of New Mexico, has become famous for all the wrong reasons. She stole 3,000 Apple iPods, evidently more than she could use personally. Stock sold them and made over $800,000 for herself.

Stock, a former employee of the Central Consolidated School District in New Mexico, managed a program that taught reading and maths to underserved Native American children on tribal territories using iPods. The theft took place between 2013 and 2018 after she bought the iPods on behave of the school district. Using funds from federal grants, Stock bought between 100 and 250 units at a time, two or three times a year.

Defendant James Bender (age 36) agreed to allow Stock and his friend, defendant Saurabh Chawla (age 36), and a relative of Chawla’s, to use his eBay accounts to sell the stolen iPods. Bender was brought in because Chawla’s eBay account had previously been suspended due to security concerns. From May 2014 through August 2019, Bender and Chawla conspired so Chawla could use Bender’s eBay and PayPal accounts to sell the stolen goods and merchandise. 

According to a release by the District of Maryland US Attorney Office, “Stock admitted that from 2013 to 2018 she stole more than 3,000 iPods purchased by the school district and sold them on eBay to Chawla and others for her personal benefit. From October 2015 to 2018, Stock and Chawla dealt directly with each other in emails, texts, and phone calls. Stock repeatedly advised Chawla of the items she had obtained, providing details such as the model, color, and number of Apple products available. Chawla and Stock then negotiated a price, and Stock shipped the items to Chawla’s relative on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. Chawla paid Stock through PayPal. Stock admitted that she received more than $800,000 in illegal proceeds from selling stolen iPods worth more than $1 million. After his relative received the stolen goods from Stock, Chawla listed them for sale online through eBay at a substantial markup.”

To cover up her crimes, Stock falsified her tax returns from 2012 to 2017, shortchanging the government by $270,821.

Stock took a plea deal and will now spend 18 months in prison, after which she will be under supervised release for three years. Her crimes led to federal charges of interstate transportation of stolen goods and tax fraud. It is unclear whether Stock only stole surplus iPods or denied the children who needed them. Evidence showed that she left some units for the students through the year-end during at least one theft incident.

Chawla has been sentenced to 66 months in federal prison and Bender to a year and a day. Kutka will serve 42 months. However, Chawla will have to pay $713,619 to the Internal Revenue Service as restitution. He will also forfeit his 2013 Tesla Model S, $2,308,062.61, from his bank accounts and a property in Aurora, Colorado.

Kutka will pay back $1.1 million and forfeit $1.88 million in assets.

Chawla is much more involved in the crime as he accepted stolen iPads from another school district to sell on eBay as well. He also conspired with a FedEx manager, Joseph Kukta, to intercept packages before they were delivered. According to documents revealed in court, Chawla paid Kukta $1.5 million, and the pair stole merchandise from different manufacturers, including Apple, Kenwood, and Epson.

Written by HackerVibes

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