CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two Charlotte business owners, Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar, 31, and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, 35, both of Charlotte, pleaded guilty today in federal court before Judge Kenneth D. Bell to charges related to selling and shipping fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones to an international buyer, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Jason Byrnes, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Office, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to the factual basis filed in the case, as early as 2013 and continuing through at least 2019, Alasfar and Alkhayyat engaged in a scheme to purchase stolen and fraudulently obtained new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices, and sell and ship the devices to buyers located in other states and foreign countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.
Filed court documents show that Alasfar and Alkhayyat owned multiple businesses located in Charlotte, including Cellport International Inc. (Cellport) and D Town Wireless (D Town), which were used in the scheme. Between January 2019 and January 2020, the defendants sold and shipped through Cellport more than 20,000 new iPhones for more than $20 million.
Alasfar and Alkhayyat each pleaded guilty to one count of interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine per count. Alasfar and Alkhayyat remain on release pending their sentencing hearings, which will be scheduled in federal court in Charlotte.
This case was the result of the investigative efforts of CMPD and the Secret Service, which have established a fully integrated partnership to combat organized criminal groups operating in Charlotte. Through this partnership, this unit has successfully leveraged local and federal resources, personnel, expertise and authorities to identify and combat the criminals and criminal organizations that have the largest negative impact on the community.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William T. Bozin and Michael E. Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte are prosecuting the case.