School employee stole 3,000 Apple iPods earmarked for Native American kids


She ran a program that used iPods to show studying and math to underprivileged Native American schoolkids dwelling on tribal land. Now, 46-year-old Kristy Inventory of New Mexico is getting 18 months in jail for stealing 3,000 of them, which she resold for a private achieve of over $800,000 between 2013 and 2018.

That’s according to the US Lawyer’s Workplace for the District of Maryland, and Inventory isn’t the primary who’s been sentenced as a part of this scheme — all of it appears to focus on round 36-year-old Colorado resident Saurabh Chawla, who purchased up stolen electronics and different items and resold them on eBay and Amazon. Regulation enforcement raided him in 2019, according to an earlier press release, and he purchased stolen iPads from one other New Mexico faculty district as nicely.

Maybe much more considerably, Chawla labored with a FedEx distribution middle supervisor from Delaware named Joseph Kukta to steal packages earlier than they made it to clients like Walmart, with Chawla paying him $1.5 million in keeping with courtroom paperwork. These thefts included shipments of Nike sneakers and units from Apple, Epson, Kenwood, and Magellan, amongst different merchandise.

“Kukta chosen particular packages which he believed, based mostly on the shippers of the packages, contained high-end electronics or different merchandise of worth that may very well be simply resold,” reads a portion of yet another press release, which continues:

In 2018, Kukta started to additionally steal packages from FedEx trailers that have been loaded for supply to a retail Retailer in Rehoboth Seashore, Delaware.

Kukta went to the FedEx facility on Sundays, holidays, or different instances when staff weren’t on the facility, and eliminated the packages he beforehand recognized from the FedEx trailers. Kukta tried to keep away from detection by turning off the lights on the facility and blocking sure surveillance cameras with cardboard packing containers and different objects. Kukta loaded the stolen packages into his truck or into autos operated by FedEx contractors and parked on the facility, then drove the autos to his rented storage unit in Seaford, the place he unloaded and saved the gadgets.

It’s not clear if Inventory, the college district employee, took iPods away from Native American schoolkids who wanted them, or just ones that went unused. One courtroom doc states that the iPods have been bought in bulk with federal grant cash, and the college district saved unused ones.

In November 2018, Inventory allegedly advised Chawla that she would examine “the college’s iPod stock and allow you to know what I can get headed your means” for “Black Friday,” however was apparently solely in a position to steal 30 that point, saying that she had “to maintain some available by way of 12 months finish for the scholars.” I suppose that’s good of her?

Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Chawla was sentenced to 66 months in jail; Kukta received 42 months; James Bender of Maryland, who let Chawla use his eBay and PayPal accounts to promote the stolen items, was sentenced to a 12 months and a day. Chawla additionally agreed to forfeit no less than $3.5 million value of property, with the courtroom seizing seven financial institution accounts, a 2013 Tesla Mannequin S, and forcing him to promote a two-story, five-bedroom home in Aurora, Colorado that he bought with fraud cash. Kukta can pay $1.1 million and forfeit an extra $1.88 million in property, according to the DA’s office.