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Prosecutors: Couple made $4 million selling stolen smart phones

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:25 a.m. HST, Mar 13, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. » A California couple were arraigned Tuesday on charges they collected hundreds of stolen smartphones from across the nation, then sold them in Hong Kong for as much as $2,000 each.

Shou Lin Wen, 39, and his wife, Yuting Tan, 27, made nearly $4 million from the scheme in just eight months, the state attorney general said.

Prosecutors say the couple and unnamed co-conspirators recruited people from homeless shelters as far away as North Carolina to sign up for multiyear service contracts that let them buy multiple smartphones at a discount. The charges allege the buyers had no intention of paying the service contracts and were paid a small fee for their help.

Prosecutors say middlemen, who have not been charged, shipped the phones to the Sacramento couple.

They were arraigned in Sacramento County Superior Court on eight felony counts of money laundering, grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. They remained jailed with bail set at $1 million each.

Neither entered a plea. Their attorney, Patricia Campi, said she had just received the case and couldn't comment.

The arrests resulted from a six-month, multi-state investigation that tracked stolen phones to California, then on to Hong Kong.

The couple were arrested March 6 during an undercover operation by special agents from the attorney general's 2-year-old eCrime Unit.

The agents met the couple in parking lot, where they offered to sell the couple 408 smartphones. Agents say the couple produced $60,600 in cash to buy 163 of the phones.

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sailfish1 wrote:
Ingenious! It was quite lucrative. Too bad it was illegal.
on March 12,2013 | 08:44PM
niimi wrote:
Unethical culture.
on March 12,2013 | 10:51PM
Mythman wrote:
You gotta love the Chinese - when is our own economy going to start copying the way they do business? What's that you say?
on March 13,2013 | 06:06AM
Kaluu wrote:
Interesting that racially biased comments passed the censor's software guard dog. Chinese culture is unethical? Chinese (in general) do business differently. Imagine the outcry if we substituted for Chinese such words as h a o l e, Hawaiian, or local! Me not upset, only grinning at irony.
on March 13,2013 | 09:35AM
iansuen wrote:
Wow look at all those shiny gadgets, don't you just love consumerism?
on March 13,2013 | 11:01AM
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