Tempe computer dealer charged with Mac fraud

CobraBoy! (tbyars@earthlink.net)
Tue, 2 Sep 1997 08:12:59 -0800

speaking of cool Apple things....


Scheme linked to two other states

Ken Brown The Business Journal

The owner of Tempe-based Mac Sale International has been
indicted on 54 counts of mail
fraud for his part in an alleged scheme to falsify sales
receipts and bamboozle dealer
incentives from Apple Computers.

The charges are the latest development in an ongoing
investigation by the U.S.
Department of Justice that already has led to a guilty plea
by a Kansas man who operated
an Apple reseller there, and could result in new charges
against a third company in

The most recent indictment targets Mac Sale owner Alan Kaplan
and seven others for
defrauding Apple Computers out of $1.1 million in rebates
intended for computer
purchases made by end-user consumers. The crimes allegedly
took place December 1995
through March 1996.

Others charged in the indictment include: Stephanie Birkett,
Tobias Fowler, Carole
Mortensen, Dennis Mortensen, Amit Patel, Stacy Patel and
Richard Pidcock. Some of
those charged were employees at Mac Sale.

Mac Sale, which bills itself as one of the nation's largest
Apple resellers, is accused of
conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering.

When contacted by phone this week, a worker at Mac Sale would
not transfer calls to
Kaplan and said the company had no comment. When pressed
further, the worker hung

According to federal prosecutors, Mac Sale worked out an
agreement with two
out-of-state companies to falsify sales records that would
secure "Winter Applecash"
rebates for both consumers and dealers. Those rebates were
intended for sales to users as
a way of spurring end-of-year purchases for the struggling
Macintosh line.

This is how the alleged scheme worked:

Mac Sale purchased computer equipment from a San Diego
company, which has not
been targeted in the indictment nor charged with any crime.

Mac Sale then gave serial numbers for that equipment to David
Cook of Willingford,
Conn.-based Lincoln Computer Corp. and Chris Meyers of
Overland, Kansas-based
MacWorks. Those two companies used the serial numbers to
secure dealer rebates,
which were split 50-50 with Mac Sale. Chris Meyers, who no
longer is at MacWorks,
pleaded guilty to mail fraud earlier this month.

At the same time, Kaplan allegedly printed false receipts and
persuaded friends, business
associates and family members -- four of them children -- to
pose as customers who
purchased the units. Consumer rebate checks were sent to
those individuals and given to

Apple officials could not be reached for comment on when they
first suspected fraud, but
according to court records, some of the dates recorded for
the supposed Macintosh sales
occurred before Apple had actually shipped them out of the

Kaplan himself allegedly collected rebates during that time
as both a dealer and a

Each money laundering count could bring a fine of up to
$500,000 and 20 years in
prison, while each count of mail fraud could result in a fine
of up to $250,000 and five
years in prison. Kaplan has been charged in all 54 counts;
his alleged co-conspirators
have been charged in three or more of the counts.

Defendants are scheduled to make their initial court
appearances next week.

=A9 1997, The Business Journal


Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
-Toa Te Ching

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