In a recent case, two Charlotte businessmen have been sentenced to prison for their involvement in a scheme to sell fraudulently obtained new iPhones overseas. Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat purchased these stolen devices at significantly reduced prices from individuals who obtained them through fraudulent means. They then operated multiple businesses to sell and ship these iPhones to buyers located in other states and foreign countries. From January 2019 to January 2020 alone, they sold over 20,000 iPhones for more than $20 million. Alasfar and Alkhayyat pleaded guilty to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property and have been sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of court supervision. This successful prosecution was the result of a collaborative effort between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and the United States Secret Service.
Overview of the case
The case involves a multi-year scheme by two Charlotte businessmen, Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones to domestic and international buyers. The scheme took place from 2013 through 2020.
The parties involved in the case are Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar, Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, Cellport International Inc., and D Town Wireless. Alasfar and Alkhayyat operated multiple businesses located in Charlotte, including Cellport International Inc. and D Town Wireless, which they used to carry out the scheme.
Timeline of events
From 2013 to 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat engaged in a scheme to purchase fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices. They then sold and shipped these devices to buyers located in other states and foreign countries. Between January 2019 and January 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat sold and shipped over 20,000 new iPhones for more than $20 million, many of which were fraudulently obtained.
Charges and Sentencing
Charges faced by the defendants
On March 2, 2023, the defendants pleaded guilty to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property. The charges were related to their involvement in the scheme to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones.
Details of the sentencing
Both Alasfar and Alkhayyat were sentenced to 46 months in prison. In addition to their prison sentences, they were also ordered to serve three years under court supervision once they are released. The sentencing took place on an unspecified date.
Conditions of court supervision
The conditions of court supervision for Alasfar and Alkhayyat include regular check-ins with a probation officer, adherence to any ordered treatment programs or counseling, and compliance with any restrictions or requirements imposed by the court. These conditions aim to ensure that the defendants are closely monitored and adhering to the terms of their supervision.
Operation and Scope of the Scheme
Methods used to obtain iPhones
Alasfar and Alkhayyat obtained fraudulently obtained and stolen new iPhones through various methods. They purchased these iPhones at prices significantly below retail value from individuals who obtained the devices through fraud and theft. The iPhones were often still sealed in the box when they were acquired by the defendants.
Domestic and international buyers
The fraudulently obtained iPhones were sold and shipped to buyers located in other states and foreign countries. Dozens of packages were sent to the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, indicating the international scope of the operation.
Locations where the iPhones were shipped
The iPhones acquired through the scheme were shipped to various locations. Buyers located in other states in the United States, as well as foreign countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, received the fraudulently obtained iPhones.
Cellport International Inc.
Cellport International Inc. is one of the businesses operated by Alasfar and Alkhayyat. They used this company as part of their scheme to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones.
D Town Wireless
D Town Wireless is another business operated by Alasfar and Alkhayyat. Similar to Cellport International Inc., this company was involved in the fraudulent scheme to acquire and sell new iPhones.
Purchase and Sale of iPhones
Acquiring iPhones at below retail value
Alasfar and Alkhayyat were able to acquire new iPhones at prices significantly below retail value. They purchased these iPhones from individuals who had obtained them through fraudulent means or theft. The iPhones were often still in their original packaging when acquired by the defendants.
Quantity and value of iPhones sold
Between January 2019 and January 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat sold and shipped more than 20,000 new iPhones for over $20 million. These iPhones were predominantly fraudulently obtained, contributing to the significant value of the scheme.
Fraudulent methods used to obtain iPhones
The scheme involved the use of fraudulent methods to obtain iPhones. The defendants purchased iPhones from individuals who had acquired them through fraud or theft. This allowed them to acquire the iPhones at prices significantly below retail value, enabling them to make a profit when selling them to domestic and international buyers.
Guilty Pleas and Consequences
Defendants’ plea of guilt
On March 2, 2023, both Alasfar and Alkhayyat pleaded guilty to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property. Their guilty pleas acknowledged their involvement in the scheme to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones.
Orders to report to federal prison
As part of their sentencing, Alasfar and Alkhayyat were ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to serve their prison terms. The specific date of their reporting is not mentioned in the available information.
Designation of federal facility
The defendants’ prison terms will begin upon designation of a federal facility. The exact facility where they will serve their sentences is not specified.
Role of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) played a significant role in the investigation of the case. Their efforts, along with those of other agencies, led to the identification and prosecution of the defendants involved in the fraudulent scheme.
Role of the United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, also played a crucial role in the investigation. Their collaboration with the CMPD and other agencies helped gather evidence and build a case against Alasfar and Alkhayyat.
Partnership to combat organized crime
The investigative efforts of the CMPD and the United States Secret Service were part of a fully integrated partnership to combat organized criminal groups operating in Charlotte. This partnership allowed for the pooling of local and federal resources, personnel, expertise, and authorities to identify and combat criminals involved in organized crime.
Prosecution of the Case
Assistant U.S. Attorneys involved
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William T. Bozin and Michael E. Savage from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte. They were responsible for presenting the evidence and arguments against Alasfar and Alkhayyat in court.
Role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte played a significant role in the prosecution of the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bozin and Savage, representing the office, worked closely with law enforcement agencies to gather evidence, build a case, and present it in court.
Trial and court proceedings
The available information does not mention the specific details of the trial and court proceedings. However, it is known that Alasfar and Alkhayyat pleaded guilty to the charges of interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property, indicating their acknowledgement of their involvement in the fraudulent scheme.
Other Related Cases
U.S. Postal Carrier and Husband Guilty of Mail Theft Scheme
In another case related to theft and fraud, a U.S. Postal Carrier and her husband were found guilty of a mail theft scheme. This case highlights the prevalence of such fraudulent activities and the efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat them.
Charlotte-Based Auto Theft Ring Charged in Federal Court
In yet another related case, a Charlotte-based auto theft ring was charged in federal court. This case, along with the others mentioned, demonstrates the widespread nature of organized criminal activities and the need for collaborative efforts to prosecute and deter such actions.
Woman Charged with Embezzlement in Hickory, N.C.
Further highlighting the scope of fraudulent activities, a woman in Hickory, N.C., was charged with embezzlement. This case serves as a reminder of the numerous financial crimes that law enforcement agencies have to address and investigate.
Main office address: 227 West Trade St. Suite 1650 Charlotte, NC 28202
The main office address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is 227 West Trade St. Suite 1650, Charlotte, NC 28202.
The email address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is USAO-WDNC.
Phone numbers: Charlotte: (704) 344-6222, Asheville: (828) 271-4661
The contact phone numbers for the U.S. Attorney’s Office are (704) 344-6222 for Charlotte and (828) 271-4661 for Asheville.