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WTF?! It's not unusual to hear about people being charged with defrauding companies, but what is strange is when said corporation publicly thanks the accused two weeks after they were arrested. That's what happened with Apple and a security researcher accused of defrauding $2.5 million worth of gift cards and electronics from the Cupertino giant.
San Francisco security researcher Noah Roskin-Frazee and a co-defendant were charged with allegedly defrauding Apple by using a password reset tool to break into the account of an employee from a company that helped the iPhone maker with customer support, reports CourtWatch and 404 Media.
The accused are alleged to have then used employee credentials to access the company's VPN servers, which in turn allowed them to access Apple's systems. Once inside, they used its Toolbox program to edit orders. They changed some orders' monetary values to zero and added products such as phones, laptops, and gift cards to existing orders without cost.
In some instances, the defendants had the items shipped to fake addresses using false names so they could be resold. It's also alleged that the pair extended existing service contracts for friends and family.
The indictment states that the pair attempted to fraudulently obtain over $3 million from Apple through more than two dozen fraudulent orders. For orders that did complete, they obtained around $2.5 million in electronic gift cards and more than $100,000 in "products and services." The scheme started in December 2018 and continued until at least March 2019.
Apple isn't named in the indictment as the company involved, but it is listed as being headquartered in Cupertino, California, and that it "developed, manufactured, licensed, supported and sold computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services."
What's unusual about this case is that Apple thanked Roskin-Frazee by name in a security update on January 22, even though he had been arrested for allegedly defrauding the firm almost two weeks earlier. Roskin-Frazee had received acknowledgments from Apple in the past for identifying vulnerabilities in its products, including macOS Ventura and macOS Sonoma.
It's unclear why Apple thanked the defendant after he was arrested – the most likely explanation is that it was just a mistake. The company has not responded to request for comment.