GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men face charges locally and at the federal level connected to a multi-state iPhone scam that targeted a number of businesses, including Amway in Kent County.
Antonio Rashad Davis and Keishun Terron Brown, both 23, were both being held at the Kent County Correctional Facility on Monday.
According to federal court documents, the scammers would email a business claiming to be from Verizon Wireless. Their targets were large companies who have accounts with Verizon that would not require upfront payments for phones.
On a second follow-up call, the caller would obtain account information for the business. Using that information, they would impersonate the business with the real Verizon and order a large number of iPhones. The fraudulent orders were usually made after business hours on Friday and include a request for overnight shipping. The group would then intercept FedEx packages carrying the iPhones before the business figured out what happened.
Federal agents say over the past four months, Verizon has had more than 6,100 fraudulently ordered devices. Roughly 200 businesses in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin have been hit.
The scheme fell apart earlier this month when the con men tried to hit Amway.
Federal court documents say the group was able to get Amway account information and order 193 iPhones worth $180,148.07. Federal agents said someone called Amway claiming that FedEx was mistakenly ordered to deliver his package to the company’s Ada Township headquarters. The person was told Amway’s policy was to return the package to the sender and they would not allow someone to pick it up.
The next day, March 16, two people stopped the FedEx truck before it entered Amway headquarters and tried to convince the driver to turn over the package. The driver refused. The suspects — Brown and Davis — then told a number of stories in hopes of talking their way through Amway security. Eventually, they were sent to the lobby, at which point Amway security confronted the suspects and called the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.
According to federal court documents, Brown and Davis went to Grandville three weeks earlier to pick up a package of fraudulently-obtained phones, but never got them because they were stopped by Grandville police and apparently thought it was too risky to continue with their plan.
Brown and Davis were charged with felony charges in Kent County District Court including receiving and concealing stolen property worth $20,000 or more and identity theft. Davis also faces a conspiracy charge.
Additionally, a federal complaint was filed against both men on Friday for identity theft, aggravated identity theft, computer intrusion to obtain value, mail fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.