Teen Selling White iPhone 4 Kits Accused Of Selling Stolen Goods

While Apple can’t seem to get around to releasing the elusive White iPhone 4, a teenager in New York City has made over $100,000 in the last few months selling kits to convert iPhone 4s from black to white. Now he says he’s being accused by an investigator of selling stolen property.

The 17-year-old, who has been saving the money he’s made for college in the fall, tells The Observer:

I got an email from a private investigator accusing me of selling stolen goods, which I’m 100 percent sure is not the case. They are some kind of anti-counterfeit/trademark firm, which sounds ridiculous, similar to what Apple is bringing up to remove White iPhone 4 Listings on eBay. I don’t know how this legal stuff works…

There are a couple of other sellers online and somehow I’m the ‘focus’ of it all. I think this guy is just trying to scare me into stop selling on behalf of Apple.

The teen says he’s going to be finding a lawyer soon but has no plan to take down his site, whiteiphone4now.com

Meanwhile, Apple’s most recent statement regarding the elusive white iPhone 4 is that will be available sometime in the spring of 2011.

Will White iPhone 4 Send New York Teen to College … or to Jail? [Observer.com]

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  1. duxup says:

    Just an e-mail? Did the e-mail also offer to send him a check if he sent a portion of the money to another party?

  2. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    “According to Lam, who speaks fluent Chinese, about six months ago he was able to make a connection with Apple’s infamous overseas supplier. “I knew a guy from a few years back that had somewhat of a relationship with folks in Foxconn,” Lam told The Observer by email.”

    Hmmmm… LOOKS LEGIT.

    Anyway, I was under the impression that the iDontCares are on 24/7 manufacturing lines… when did they find the time to ghost-shift the white parts? Maybe it’s the already manufactured white parts that didn’t meet Apple’s QC parameters?

    • jamar0303 says:

      Or, more likely, they’ve stolen the designs and used them on extra production lines. White iPhone4s are sold in quite s few places in China.

  3. madanthony says:

    The article says he got the parts from a connection at FoxConn, the assembler that Apple uses, and his site describes the parts as original/OEM. That would suggest that the parts are either stolen, or at least sold under the table, probably in violation of whatever contract Apple and FoxConn have.

    • Darrone says:

      Which, if I am not mistaken, means that Apple should address the issue with Foxconn. He was sold parts, that cannot be proved were stolen, can only be proved were sold outside of an agreement with two parties that do not involve the OP. Unlikely they could win any kind of judgment against the OP.

      • huadpe says:

        Criminally, no. Civilly, yes. He appears to have imported patented* goods without permission of the patent holder, which is a tort, and which Apple can sue him for.

        *I am assuming Apple has a design patent on the ornamental appearance of the iPhone’s case.

        • sonneillon says:

          I think that ruling has a good shot at getting overturned in SCOTUS with the Costco Omega deal but he does have some civil issues.

          Tortious interference might also be applicable.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Yep. It reminds me of the manufacturer defects that end up at Goodwill. If the company was supposed to destroy or recycle the parts that didn’t pass muster, and instead it’s selling them, that is definitely illegal.

    • Megalomania says:

      …which means that if HE had a contract with Apple, he’d be breaking it.

      • madmallard says:

        exactly. This is between Foxconn and Apple.

        • DanRydell says:

          It is illegal to receive stolen property

          • sonneillon says:

            Depends. Most states the person has to know it was stolen.

            • aja175 says:

              Not in NY. Stolen is stolen, doesn’t matter if you know it is or not.

              • MrEvil says:

                I’m pretty sure that even in NY you aren’t going to jail for receiving stolen property that you didn’t know was stolen. Same as the other 49 states.

                Again, the key word is KNOWING it was stolen. What this kid is doing could definitely land him in legal hot water because him getting these “through a connection at FoxConn” would have every indication that obtaining these parts was less than legal.

            • AustinTXProgrammer says:

              So he is fine if he stops. In court they would argue that he now knows.

      • Griking says:

        It is illegal to sell stolen property.

        • Megalomania says:

          if it’s being SOLD under the table, it is not stolen. My response was in regard to the poster’s comment regarding a contract between Apple and Foxconn and parts being sold under the table. Which is why I mentioned a contract.

          It’s like you’re bloody trying to read it wrong.

          • Griking says:

            So wait, you guys really believe that Foxconn would risk it’s relationship with Apple in order to knowingly sell about $50,000 (before the kid’s markup) worth of white iPhone cases to a 17 year old kid? I call BS. I have to believe that these were parts that were stolen from Foxconn (probably by employees) and then sold.

  4. dourdan says:

    oooo white. i cannot belive people are paying him over 200 dollars to change the color

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I’ll sell them some white out for $199.

    • terrillja says:

      It includes the retina display (LCD) as well, which on its own is ~60, and the whole front assembly is about $130 for a black one, so his prices aren’t completely out of line from repair parts, which is pretty much what they are.

    • dr_drift says:

      Listen, it’s not about the color. It’s about having something unique and exclusive. It’s about having the latest, the greatest… amazing tech that isn’t even on the market yet is IN YOUR HANDS! And here’s the big payoff… When someone sees you using your white iPhone, they’ll say “Wow, is that one of the new white iPhones?” And you’ll say, “Yeah, cool, huh?” And they’ll say, “Yeah, cool.” Wouldn’t you pay $300 for that?

  5. Sam2k says:

    However he’s getting the parts, he’s definitely ripping people off. He’s charging $299 for 2 parts when the entire phone costs less than that to manufacture and the glass is certainly not the expensive part.

    • terrillja says:

      It’s pretty much in line for black replacement parts. Replacement parts cost a ton, regardless of what the manufacturing cost is.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Buying the phone without a contract costs well over $300. You’re thinking of the price with a 2-year contract.

  6. framitz says:

    “Original/OEM parts” Sounds like the parts might be illegally obtained.

    Pretty sure that Apple, who is the OEM would not sell parts for a phone that’s not on the market yet.

  7. backinpgh says:

    So it’s not “White iPhone4 Now” it’s “White iPhone…for now.”

  8. RayanneGraff says:

    I don’t get the huge desire for white electronic devices. The first thing I buy for every new gadget is a protective case. Bam! There’s your color change right there.

  9. Tim says:

    Seems like the problem is between Apple and FoxConn. If FoxConn told Apple they wouldn’t sell parts to anyone but Apple, Apple needs to enforce that restriction.

    All this guy did was to buy parts from China. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  10. Macgyver says:

    $300 for that crap.
    Why are people complaining about wanting a white iPhone? If you want a white phone, maybe you should get another phone, or get a white case.
    You can also go to Home Depot and get some spray paint for under 5 bucks.

    • Mike says:

      The cost of this conversion appalls me. In all honesty wiping your butt with dollar bills would be a better use of your money. $20, $30 OK, but $279? I hate anyone who has ever paid that much to change their phone color, I hate them in ways they can only dream of.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Aftermarket modifications are not illegal. I can purchase whatever brand iPhone case and cover I choose. However, his statement “I don’t know how this legal stuff works…” does not bode well for him.

  12. Mike says:

    $279 to convert the color of your phone?!?!?! Are you kidding me?

    • dr_drift says:

      Looks like you’ve never met an Apple customer.

    • Razor512 says:

      Apple makes it easy to target people who are not the most intelligent with their money. Most addons for apple products are generally more expensive, simple because apple customers are generally willing to accept a higher price for their products.

  13. obits3 says:

    I want the one with the Gee Bees!

  14. mattarse says:

    whether he’s doing this legit or not – what a great idea. I can’t even believe there is a market for this.

  15. Piddles says:

    You can get a blank white gelaskin for 15 bucks.

  16. dr_drift says:

    A string of recent automobile theft incidents at Phillips & McMillan Wholesalers has created a scorching demand for replica stereos! I’m in the unique position to offer YOU the best deals on fully functioning replica stereos that fit YOUR EXACT CAR for pennies on the dollar! Recently, a friend of mine (Trent, from shipping. You know, the quiet guy? The one who always takes his break at odd times, alone, then comes back all sweaty and acting funny. The one who avoided eye contact with you last Wednesday after his break and wouldn’t say hi to you the rest of the night.) came into a shipment of quality stereo equipment that’s just begging to be bought! I can’t store all this inventory! I won’t! I refuse to even lay gloveless fingers upon it!

    Listen, I know what you’re saying. “But shadowy figure, this was my grandfather’s car, it’s Italian and I don’t know if you wouldn’t even have that in stock.”

    Amy? From Marketing? Is that you? Well, if you’re talking about your ’88 Maserati, then WE HAVE THAT replica STEREO!

    Joe from shipping, did you know that the stereo from Ryan Hernandez’s ’06 Accord will fit perfectly in your ’01 Accord? And his is BOSE! You didn’t even get the CD player (hypothetically)! CALL NOW before Ryan does and I’ll throw in an ’01 Accord owner’s manual, 38 cents in assorted change, and THAT TIM HORTON’S CUP THAT HAD THE ROLL UP LID WITH A FREE BREAKFAST COUPON ON IT THAT YOU PROBABLY NEVER REDEEMED! Just like all the stuff that used to be in your car!

  17. ampsonic says:

    To be fair, the 279 includes a new LCD panel. (I don’t believe there is a way to separate the case from the LCD without destroying it). If you had a broken LCD or glass, this would be a good deal. And you can probably sell your old one if it isn’t broken.

  18. JulesNoctambule says:

    Wow. Eagerly paying all that money just to make your shiny toy a bland, institutional colour that will show scuffs and dirt much easier. Clearly, I’m in the wrong business.

  19. MikeM_inMD says:

    A private investigator accused him? That would carry a heck of a lot more weight coming from the police or FBI.

    • David in Brasil says:

      It could happen. A few years ago, a competitor of mine became convinced that I wasn’t smart enough to have developed my own products and therefore must have stolen their intellectual property. They set up a private investigator to purchase some of my products to have them analyzed. That P.I. then calls some of his buddies in the Dallas F.B.I. office and all of the sudden, I get calls asking me to come to their office to answer questions. I hired a lawyer who told them to go pound sand, and never heard from them again (yes, I’m sure that the calls came from the F.B.I. office) Funny, my F.O.I.A. request shows that the entire incident never occurred.

  20. Can't Buy a Thrill says:

    Seems a bit like Apple being hoisted on their own petard…Apple uses manufacturers in China because they can pay their employees less (no U.S. minimum wage, treat their workers worse than in the U.S., pollute in ways not allowed in the U.S. So Apple gets the benefits of skirting U.S. laws manufacturing in China. Now this guy is skirting the law, it seems. If they manufactured in the U.S. then they’d probably have a great case against material being pilfered from the manufacturer….but since they shipped that off to China……

  21. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    The irony of all this is: remember when black iPods were in vogue when white was the only color available? You know, back when the first video playing iPods came out 5 years ago? Now Dear Leader’s getting his panties in a bunch because he is convinced we peons are supposed to accept black is cool, amazing and magical (to use Dear Leader’s superlatives.) Now, if there were only a blue iPhone 4. Then heads would turn!

  22. chiieddy says:

    That back panel has the full Apple logo and copyright information on it. Apple may have a legit complaint there.

  23. MrEvil says:

    $100,000 how much is that in Manhattan dollars? Fifty cents?

  24. jerrycomo says:

    Can’t believe idiots are paying him money to CHANGE THE COLOR FOR A PHONE. A PHONE.

  25. Minneapolis says:

    I need the one now please! Can you waive the activation fee? Does it come with a case? Can you hook up my bluetooth to it?