Apple’s head of security has been charged with bribery for allegedly promising to exchange 200 iPads for four gun permits with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in California.
Thomas Moyer, 50, and two police officers from the Sheriff’s Office have been formally charged by a grand jury, District Attorney (DA) Jeff Rosen announced on Monday. The officers have been charged with soliciting bribes for issuing concealed firearm permits.
Undersheriff Rick Sung and Captain James Jensen allegedly worked together to withhold the concealed carry weapon (CCW) permits from Apple’s security team until the 200 tablets, worth around $70,000 (£54,000), were donated to the Sheriff’s Office.
Withholding gun licences
While it is illegal to carry a concealed firearm in California without a CCW licence, the sheriff has broad discretion in determining who meets the requirements.
The officers were charged as part of a two year investigation by the DA’s office, which claims that Undersheriff Sung – and Captain Jensen in the Apple case – had deliberately withheld gun licences from applicants, “refusing to release them until the applicants gave something of value,” Mr Rosen said.
“Undersheriff Sung and Captain Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers.
“Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney’s Office, not rewarded with compliance.”
Separately in the investigation the DA’s office found Harpreet Chadha, a local insurance broker, allegedly promised Undersheriff Sung $6,000 worth of luxury box office seats to a San Jose Sharks hockey game at San Jose’s SAP Centre on 14 February 2019.
Sheriff Laurie Smith’s family members and some of her biggest supporters held a celebration of her re-election as sheriff in Chadha’s suite that day.
But the iPad donation was apparently pulled at the last minute after the pair learned the DA’s office had begun investigating in August 2019.
‘There was no bribe’
The defendants will appear at the Hall of Justice in San Jose on 11 January 2021 and could face time in prison if convicted.
Ed Swanson, Mr Moyer’s laywer, said his client was innocent of the charges and had applied for weapons permits for some Apple security personnel to protect executives and employees after shootings at other Silicon Valley tech firms, such as a 2018 incident at YouTube’s headquarters.
“They went through the process the way you’re supposed to do it,” he told Reuters of the permit applications, adding that the iPad donation was unconnected to the permits. “There was no bribe, no quid pro quo.”
Apple said it had conducted its own investigation and found no wrongdoing.