CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – A federal jury has convicted a Charlotte business owner for selling stolen and fraudulently obtained iPhones overseas, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina announced Tuesday.
According to court documents, trial evidence and witness testimony, Rami Mahmod Mhana, 46, was the owner of Wireless City Fashions Inc. (Wireless City) and Protocol Business Group Inc. (Protocol), located at 441 Bradford Drive in west Charlotte, as well as multiple Boost Mobile stores in the Charlotte area.
From at least May 2017 through October 2019, Mhana reportedly purchased thousands of brand-new, current generation iPhones and other electronic devices, many of which were stolen and fraudulently obtained.
Mhana then shipped the new iPhones to the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, documents show. Trial evidence established that Mhana obtained a significant portion of the stolen and fraudulently obtained devices from multiple local “boosters.” A booster is a person who steals or obtains goods and products via fraud and sells them for profit.
Mhana would pay boosters significantly less than retail value of the devices. Over the course of the scheme, Mhana received more than $4.5 million in international wires from buyers of the devices in Dubai and Hong Kong.
Following the guilty verdict, Mhana was released on electronic monitoring. At sentencing, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy charge; up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of international transportation of stolen goods; and a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine for each money laundering conviction.
U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. presided over the trial which ended late Monday, May 22. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael E. Savage and William Bozin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte are prosecuting the case.
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