Man Swindles Apple for $309,768 in 16 States

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By Athena Yenko | July 30, 2014 9:22 AM EST

A man from Tampa, Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr, was able to swindle tech giant Apple for $309,768 in 16 states.

Parrish is now facing charges of wire fraud as he was found guilty of swindling Apple clerks around 16 states by providing bogus override credit card codes. He is now being held without bail at the Pinellas County jail.

REUTERS
A customer looks over the selection of tablet computers at a Sam's Club during a media tour in Bentonville, Arkansas June 5, 2014. The tour was part of Walmart Stores Inc. annual shareholder meeting.

Secret Service Special Agent Bryan Halliwell lodge the complaint after a thorough joint investigation with Apple and Chase Bank.

In order to make the swindling possible, Parrish used the scheme dubbed as "forced sale," "forced post" or "forced code," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The scheme involves having a credit or debit card getting declined. The holder of the card will act as an irate account holder demanding that funds should be available in the account. The swindler will act as if he is calling his or her bank and will talk as if it was the bank's mistake why funds are not available in his account. He or she will pretend to have an authorization code from the bank to override the account. He will then give the code to the clerk making the sales and have the clerk override the declined card.

But the code does not actually matter and any combination of digits will override the denial, according to a previous court ruling in a similar case.

John Joyce, special agent in charge of the Secret Service in Tampa, advised that the solution against "forced sale" is to have clerks or employees that are vigilant against making "anxious selling."

"The retailer should not be so anxious to make a sale as to override a declination at the cash register," Joyce said.

Staff at brick-and-mortar stores are usually guilty of overly pleasing a customer than being watchful against fraudsters, Karisse Hendrick, program manager for the Americas at the Seattle-based Merchant Risk Council, explained.

"There are very creative bad guys who are always going to be looking for the easy way out and can be very convincing even in person," Hendrick said.

A similar swindling scheme was done by a woman in New Jersey and was able to shop at Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic, and other fashionable brands amounting to $592,952. The woman is now serving a three-year prison time.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Rick Wilking)
A customer looks over the selection of tablet computers at a Sam's Club during a media tour in Bentonville, Arkansas June 5, 2014. The tour was part of Walmart Stores Inc. annual shareholder meeting.
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