The Surface Pro 7Source: Windows Central

What you need to know

  • A man went to great lengths to defraud Microsoft, Cisco, and Lenovo.
  • The FBI and IRS went to equally great lengths to catch him.
  • He's now going to serve almost eight years in prison.

Delaware man Justin David May just got hit with a quadruple combo of mail fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and "interstate transportation of goods obtained by fraud" charges. As for how he earned those charges? It all stems from his elaborate schemes to defraud Microsoft, Lenovo, and Cisco.

The man registered false domains and created fake email addresses so he could file illegitimate warranty claims. Using these false identities and real product serial numbers, he hit up big companies to get product replacements, making defective and broken hardware claims. He then sold the goods he received on eBay and to PC part resellers.

Via this method, May and his cohorts swindled nearly $3.5 million worth of hardware out of Cisco, 193 hard drives from Lenovo (valued at $143,000), and 139 Microsoft Surface tablets (valued at $364,761).

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You can read the full report over at the U.S. Department of Justice's website (it's a heck of a read), but to spoil the ending: May is going to prison for seven years and eight months and has been ordered to pay over $4 million in restitution, among other punishments.

The moral of the story is that there are ways to get the best Windows 10 tablets and Surface PCs that don't end with prison sentences — chiefly, by paying for the goods as a legitimate customer. Alternatively, if you want a personal cell and three square meals a day paid for by taxpayers, you can ask to take a look at a friend's Surface Laptop 4 serial number and get to work. Just don't be surprised when the IRS and FBI pay you a visit.