iPod Thief in Hoosegow, Owes $1.4 Million

Young man scammed Steve Jobs & Co. out of iPod Shuffles for fun and profit, while Target deal offers promise of high-tech shoplifting

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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iPod Thief in Hoosegow, Owes $1.4 Million

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Steve Jobs apparently wasn't the only guy making millions off iPods -- a Michigan man made a mint under the table, while Target wants in on the iTunes action.

A young man in Kalamazoo, Michigan who broke the serial number code for Apple's iPod Shuffles, enabling him to steal over 9,000 iPods, has been sentenced to 13 months in federal prison.

Nicholas Woodhams, 23, used the serial numbers to issue replacements of broken iPods on items no longer under warranty through the company's website, and then sold the purloined iPods at a reduced price.

He was convicted on mail fraud and money-laundering charges.

Woodhams will also have to pay over $650,000 in restitution to Apple and the US Postal Service.

The scam netted Woodhams quite a mint, with $500,000 in cash seized among other assets -- for a grand total of around $1.4 million in fines and seizures, or about $150 per unit.

Meanwhile, even as music consumers continue to use Apple iPods to copy unlicensed music, the company plans to make money on digital files through a partnership with Target.

An iTunes-branded kiosk will be set up in Target stores across the country, with the rollout to coincide with the release of the new album from aging grunge rockers Pearl Jam.

People who buy the album at target will get extra tracks and video.

Try not to earn the embarrassment of being the first person to actually shoplift an MP3, okay?

Jackson West already dropped enough money at Target this month.

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