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Former New Mexico School District employee sentenced for stealing, reselling Apple products meant for Native American school children

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Jan 12, 2022

BALTIMORE — A former New Mexico School District employee has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing and reselling Apple products that were meant for Native American school children.

According to 46-year-old Kristy Stock's plea agreement, beginning in 2014, defendant James Bender agreed to allow defendant Saurabh Chawla, and a relative of Chawla’s, SC2, to sell goods and merchandise through Bender’s eBay accounts.

Documents detail that from May 2014 through August 2019, Bender and Chawla conspired so Chawla could use Bender’s eBay and PayPal accounts to sell stolen goods and merchandise.

Stock worked for the Central Consolidated School District in New Mexico from 2010 to 2019 and was responsible for overseeing a program to provide Apple iPods to school children with the intent of benefiting Native American children living on tribal reservations in New Mexico.

On behalf of the school district, Stock directed federal grants be used to make bulk purchase orders of iPods, ranging from 100 to 250 units per order, two to three times each year.

She admitted that from 2013 to 2018, she stole thousands of those iPods and sold them on eBay to Chawla and others for her personal benefit.

Documents continued, stating she received more than $800,000 in illegal proceeds from selling stolen iPods worth more than $1 million.

She also filed false tax returns for calendar years 2012 to 2017, causing a tax loss to the United States of $270,821.

36-year-old Saurabh Chawla and 36-year-old James Bender, were sentenced to 66 months and to a year and a day in federal prison, respectively.

Chawla was sentenced to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $713,619, and to sign an order of forfeiture requiring him to forfeit a 2013 Tesla Model S, $2,308,062.61 from accounts held in his name, and the sale of property in Aurora, Colorado.