CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Two North Carolina family members will serve a combined 54 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining and stealing new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices locally for national and international buyers.
U.S. Attorney Dena King announced that Statesville resident Lal H. Mahtani, 58, and Cornelius resident Vivek Ramesh Mahtani, 41, got federal court sentences on Tuesday.
Lal received a sentence of 36 months followed by three years of supervised release. His nephew, Vivek, received a sentence of 18 months with three years of supervised release.
Court documents say the pair worked on a two-year scheme to purchase new iPhones and other electronic devices from individuals who had obtained the devices through fraudulent means, often from wireless stores.
The Mahtanis reportedly purchased the new iPhones, which were frequently in their sealed packaging, at prices substantially below their retail value. Lal purchased many contraband devices through New York Styles, his retail store in Statesville.
The men shipped these devices to other states, including California, Texas, New York, and Georgia. Some devices shipped internationally to places like Hong Kong.
Vivek also sold many devices to Cellport, a Charlotte-based business owned and operated by Hamzeh Alasfar and Tayseer Alkhayyat. Those individuals pleaded guilty to related charges in Charlotte last month.
According to filed documents, the defendants shipped more than 1,700 pounds of fraudulently obtained devices. The transactions resulted in financial losses that exceeded $1.5 million.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police worked with the Secret Service on the investigation.