Singapore: A young Singaporean was accused of fraud against the technology giant, Microsoft. The young man made a false warranty claim to get 56 laptops worth US$143,144.
According to CNA, the young man was 16 years old at the time of the offence, and conspired with an American man through a private online forum. The accused, now 20 years old, could not be named. This is because he is protected by the Children and Youth Act which prohibits the publication of the identity of perpetrators under the age of 18.
CNA reports that the defendant pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to defraud Microsoft, as well as three counts of acquiring property that was the profit of a criminal act on February 22. Seven other charges will be considered in sentencing.
The incident occurred between August 2017 and October 2017. The defendant found that Microsoft Surface laptops were being sold online for less than half their retail price (about US$800). He also discovered that these laptop serial numbers can be purchased from online forums for around US$25 each).
The defendant then shared this opportunity to take advantage of Microsoft’s initial guarantee program with his American accomplice, Justin David May. The defendant purchased the laptop serial number under valid warranty and used it to file a claim with Microsoft, claiming that the device was faulty. He arranged for a replacement device to be sent to the address in the US provided by his accomplice.
Once the device arrives, May will deliver it to the defendant’s flat in Tampines, keeping several laptops for herself as part of the two’s deal. The defendant then sold the laptop on Carousell for between S$1,700 and S$2,500 each.
The entire crime was finally exposed in 2018. After Justin David May was indicted in January for other offenses, including mail fraud perpetrated against Microsoft. CNA reports that in May 2018, the Singapore Police Department of Commercial Affairs was notified by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that the accused allegedly conspired with May to commit fraud against Microsoft.
As a result of the alleged fraud, Microsoft was dishonestly persuaded to ship 56 Surface laptops for a total of $143,144. According to the defendant, the proceeds from this sale went to Bitcoin, and he “lost everything” when the price plummeted in 2018.