Possibility Of Criminal Charges Over New IPhone

On April 19, sister site Gizmodo.com broke the exclusive news that Apple has been working on a <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5520471/the-tale-of-apples-next-iphone">new iPhone. Now, authorities are considering whether to file criminal charges over its sale, reports The New York Times.

According to NY Times blog Bits Blog, the district attorney in San Mateo County in California has the option of filing charges against possibly both buyer and seller, and people involved with the investigation tell the site that the D.A. could file charges early next week.

Under California law, it is illegal to sell stolen goods. Moreover, a person who uses the property of others without permission could be legally be guilty of theft.

Gizmodo.com came into possession of the phone after it was apparently lost in a bar — which is why legal action is being considered and not currently in place — and after unsuccessful attempts at returning the phone to Apple. It was later revealed by Gawker Media, parent company of both Gizmodo and Kotaku, that $US5,000 was paid for the iPhone. If property is not worth over US$950, the case will be classified as a misdemeanor. But since $US5,000 was paid for the phone, it would be considered a felony.

The phone has since been returned to Apple. Late Friday, Gawker Media informed The New York Times that it has not been contacted by any authorities regarding this issue.

"If there is any case that arises out of our office at this point the police have not submitted for prosecution," said Stephen Wagstaffe, San Mateo County's chief deputy district attorney. Moreover, Wagstaffe said that in some cases of missing property, "we call it misappropriation of lost property; it's a crime but it's not theft."

Criminal Charges Possible in the Case of the Lost iPhone [NYTimes]


    I hate to say it, I mean I really hate to say it, but I think Apple has a point. Gizmodo took the big reveal from Apple, and that's something huge with Apple Products. After all, where will Jobs get to be a dick towards Adobe now?

    Apple...the new nintendo.....using the law to suck more money out of people

    I posted on gizmodo about their stance on purchasing stolen goods just as they started pumping out all those "triumph over apple" articles. naturally my post was deleted.

    you don't have the right to sell something that doesn't belong to you, even if you "urr but i tried to contact them wahh". sure thing.

    gizmodo were complete douchebags about this whole ordeal, they payed $5000, but not for a story; they'd have to be proper journalists in order to make that kind of justification.

    Apple may be evil but gizmodo really is in the wrong here. They've been giving blogging journalists a bad name for a while, hopefully this will set them straight.

    > Apple…the new nintendo…..using the law to suck more money out of people

    The story is about the DA in San Mateo County, California looking into filing a criminal lawsuit as opposed to a civil lawsuit that Apple would (and may have the right to) file.

    I guess it's too much to ask for people to read the article before commenting.

    if it did turn out to be a fake and giz paid $5k for it, no one would care... people pay big dollars for exclusive all the time and if it takes buying a few fakes, than so be it... apple should suck it up...

    This isn't a story about Apple crushing 'the little guy', it's about Gizmodo paying $5000 USD for a phone off someone who either found or stole it from a bar. Either way, it's stolen goods and they KNEW it was when they paid for it.

    Gizmodo didn't just hand it in. But took photos from every angle, took it apart, revealed all the internals and specs to the internet. Potentially costing Apple millions of dollars from the thousands who are now avoiding the current iPhone 3GS until June, or whatever the release date is.

    Don't attempt to overlook Gizmodo's role, even if they're the 'small' tech blog. They knowingly paid for stolen goods, revealed trade secrets prematurely and leveraged this into an exclusive scoop.

    This cements it. I'll never own an Apple device. This sort of behavior disgusts me.

    Apple are crap. This isnt costing them money. If people want an iphone, they will buy one. if they buy it now, they wouldnt buy the next generation.

    its alot of people having a cry over nothing.

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