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Sacramento Couple Made $4M Selling Stolen Phones, Officials Say

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — A California couple were arraigned Tuesday on charges they collected hundreds of stolen smartphones from across the nation, then sold them in Hong Kong for as much as $2,000 each.

Shou Lin Wen, 39, and his wife, Yuting Tan, 27, made nearly $4 million from the scheme in just eight months, the state attorney general said.

Prosecutors say the couple and unnamed co-conspirators recruited people from homeless shelters as far away as North Carolina to sign up for multiyear service contracts that let them buy multiple smartphones at a discount. The charges allege the buyers had no intention of paying the service contracts and were paid a small fee for their help.

Prosecutors say middlemen, who have not been charged, shipped the phones to the Sacramento couple.

They were arraigned in Sacramento County Superior Court on eight felony counts of money laundering, grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. They remained jailed with bail set at $1 million each.

Neither entered a plea. Their attorney, Patricia Campi, said she had just received the case and couldn’t comment.

The arrests resulted from a six-month, multi-state investigation that tracked stolen phones to California, then on to Hong Kong.

The couple were arrested March 6 during an undercover operation by special agents from the attorney general’s 2-year-old eCrime Unit.

The agents met the couple in parking lot, where they offered to sell the couple 408 smartphones. Agents say the couple produced $60,600 in cash to buy 163 of the phones.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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    […] can sell for more than $1,000 each in China, for instance. In fact, U.S. law enforcement recently arrested a Chinese man and his wife in the Sacramento area on suspicion of running an international crime syndicate selling stolen […]

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