updated 10:41 pm EDT, Thu June 21, 2012
Mastermind sentenced to up to nine years
A 29-year-old New York man and his girlfriend will serve up to 12 years in prison for creating and running a credit-card fraud ring that resulting in the illicit purchase of more than a million dollars in Apple merchandise, victimizing Apple retail stores from coast to coast. The "S3" group, which eventually grew to include 27 people, created fake credit cards based on stolen card numbers, then bought Apple gear and resold them.
Shaheed Bilal was the ringleader of the group, and bought stolen credit card numbers in order to fabricate counterfeit cards that were used by his immediate family, girlfriend and others. Over the course of two-and-a-half years, the group amassed more than $1 million in iPads, iPhones and MacBook computers that were then sold to stolen-goods dealers in Brooklyn.
Bilal, who was sentenced on Thursday, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree and will serve between four-and-a-half and nine years in prison. His girlfriend, Ophelia Alleyne, took over the scheme in 2012 when Bilal was jailed in a different case and was sentenced to four-to-12 years. Bilal's brothers Ali and Rahim, who recruited shoppers for the group, will serve between one and six years. In all, 16 of the 27 people involved have already been convicted.