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Michigan iPod repairman charged with fraud

by Ed White

Associated Press Writer / March 19, 2009

DETROIT—Apple Inc. appears to be the victim of a real shuffle.

Prosecutors filed fraud and money laundering charges against an independent iPod repairman who is accused of acquiring more than 9,000 replacement Shuffle music players by entering serial numbers into Apple's Web site.

Nicholas Woodhams, 23, of the Kalamazoo area turned around and sold thousands for $49 each, according to court documents filed Wednesday in federal court in Grand Rapids.

"We've been cooperating with the government and are in the process of negotiating a resolution," his lawyer, Randall Levine, said Thursday.

"He is one of those guys who is computer-savvy. This is a very bright man who did not fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation," Levine said.

Indeed, the government wants to seize real estate belonging to Woodhams, seven Apple computers, two vehicles, a motorcycle and more than $571,000 -- all alleged to be fruits of the crime.

Through his repair business, Woodhams knew that iPod owners could get a replacement if their Shuffle had problems, according to the government.

"Through trial and error, the defendant determined that he could guess valid, warrantied serial numbers and enter them into Apple's Web site for 'replacement' units without ever in fact purchasing or possessing the 'original' units," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote.

Woodhams instructed his employees to enter numbers and have music players shipped to a box at a United Parcel Service store in Portage or addresses in the Kalamazoo area, Kessler said.

If Apple didn't receive a defective iPod in return, the company would charge the cost of a replacement to a credit card provided by the customer. But Woodhams used credit or debt cards that rejected the transaction, the prosecutor said.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling had no comment on the case. The Cupertino, Calif., company was aware of Woodhams and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Grand Rapids in June 2008.

Besides alleging fraud in the Shuffle replacement program, Apple accused Woodhams of shipping out-of-warranty iPods for repair by replacing the back casing with serial numbers from music players still under warranty.

Levine said the lawsuit is on hold while the criminal case moves through court.

http://www.boston.com/business/technology/...hnology+stories

So, I also stalked his facebook page and found this:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3475...amp;id=12101952

His audi with a vanity plate "ipodgod" LOL

his entire fb profile: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3475...php?id=12101952

Awesome press for Western Michigan University since USA today picked it up. HAHAHA

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