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Twin brothers from Miami have been sentenced to years in prison after pleading guilty of using identity theft to buy Apple devices and charging them to AT&T customer accounts.
The pair, Luis Hernandez Socarras and Jorge Hernandez Socarras, worked the nationwide scheme from March 2019 to January 2020, according to Justice.gov. During that time, they fraudulently accessed approximately 2,366 AT&T customers’ mobile accounts, and used them to buy millions of dollars worth of iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.
Court documents say that the two men would travel to multiple electronics stores across 26 States in order to pick up devices that had been fraudulently ordered. They would then return to Miami to fence the devices.
It’s not clear precisely how many devices were bought this way over the period, but the court estimates that the total value was $2,155,483.78. During the FBI’s investigation, authorities recovered one stash hidden in a vehicle.
According to the court filing, that stash comprised “29 iPhones, 11 Pro Max cell phones, six Apple iPad Pro tablets, three Apple Watches, a firearm, other electronic devices, and a passport.”
The two men were arrested in March 2021. On top of the 52-month sentence, they are also required to pay $360,937 in restitution. It’s not completely clear why the restitution is so much lower than the estimated total loss, given that the stash that was recovered only came out to around $52,000 in retail value.
This Miami verdict comes shortly after cargo handlers at Miami International Airport were charged with stealing over $21,000 worth of Apple devices.