Tuesday, January 18, 2022

School employee stole 3,000 Apple iPods earmarked for Native American kids

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She ran a program that used iPods to show studying and math to underprivileged Native American schoolkids residing on tribal land. Now, 46-year-old Kristy Stock of New Mexico is getting 18 months in jail for stealing 3,000 of them, which she resold for a private acquire of over $800,000 between 2013 and 2018.

That’s in accordance to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland (by way of Engadget), and Stock isn’t the primary who’s been sentenced as a part of this scheme — all of it appears to focus on round 36-year-old Colorado resident Saurabh Chawla, who purchased up stolen electronics and different items and resold them on eBay and Amazon. Law enforcement raided him in 2019, according to an earlier press launch, and he purchased stolen iPads from one other New Mexico college district as nicely.

Perhaps much more considerably, Chawla labored with a FedEx distribution heart supervisor from Delaware named Joseph Kukta to steal packages earlier than they made it to prospects like Walmart, with Chawla paying him $1.5 million in response to court docket paperwork. Those thefts included shipments of Nike sneakers and units from Apple, Epson, Kenwood, and Magellan, amongst different merchandise.

“Kukta selected specific packages which he believed, based on the shippers of the packages, contained high-end electronics or other merchandise of value that could be easily resold,” reads a portion of one more press launch, which continues:

In 2018, Kukta started to additionally steal packages from FedEx trailers that had been loaded for supply to a retail Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Kukta went to the FedEx facility on Sundays, holidays, or different instances when staff weren’t on the facility, and eliminated the packages he beforehand recognized from the FedEx trailers. Kukta tried to keep away from detection by turning off the lights on the facility and blocking sure surveillance cameras with cardboard packing containers and different objects. Kukta loaded the stolen packages into his truck or into automobiles operated by FedEx contractors and parked on the facility, then drove the automobiles to his rented storage unit in Seaford, the place he unloaded and saved the objects.

It’s not clear if Stock, the varsity district employee, took iPods away from Native American schoolkids who wanted them, or just ones that went unused. One court docket doc states that the iPods had been bought in bulk with federal grant cash, and the varsity district saved unused ones.

In November 2018, Stock allegedly instructed Chawla that she would test “the school’s iPod inventory and let you know what I can get headed your way” for “Black Friday,” however was apparently solely in a position to steal 30 that point, saying that she had “to keep some on hand through year end for the students.” I suppose that’s good of her?

Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Chawla was sentenced to 66 months in jail; Kukta received 42 months; James Bender of Maryland, who let Chawla use his eBay and PayPal accounts to promote the stolen items, was sentenced to a 12 months and a day. Chawla additionally agreed to forfeit a minimum of $3.5 million price of property, with the court docket seizing seven financial institution accounts, a 2013 Tesla Model S, and forcing him to promote a two-story, five-bedroom dwelling in Aurora, Colorado that he bought with fraud cash. Kukta pays $1.1 million and forfeit a further $1.88 million in property, according to the DA’s workplace.

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