In one of the more unusual big tech scandals that have surfaced recently, it looks like a senior member of Apple’s management team has been accused of bribing a local sheriff with 200 iPads in an attempt to secure concealed carry permits for Apple employees.
According to CNBC, a grand jury in Santa Clara, California — the county that covers Cupertino, where the Apple Park headquarters is located — has just indicted Thomas Moyer, Apple’s chief security officer, for attempting to bribe the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office by promising to donate $70,000 worth of iPads in direct exchange for four concealed weapons permits (CCW licenses) for Apple employees.
However, Moyer isn’t the only one caught up in the case, as the grand jury actually issued two indictments which collectively covered not only Apple’s head of global security, but also Undersheriff Rick Sung, and Sheriff’s Captain James Jensen as the instigators of the deal for actually requesting the alleged bribes. Local businessman and insurance broker Harpreet Chadha is also listed in the indictments as a result of a separate alleged bribery arrangement with the Sheriff’s Office.
According to a release issued by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office, DA Jeff Rosen focused his comments primarily on the Sheriffs, who he says “treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers” in the form of Moyer and Chadha.
The DA’s office goes on to note that following a two-year investigation, the two public officials were discovered to be deliberately holding up the issuance of CCW licenses, “refusing to release them until the applicants gave something of value.”
In the case of Apple, this included four permits being withheld from Apple employees, for which the pair of Sheriff’s Office officials managed to “extract from Thomas Moyer a promise that Apple would donate iPads to the Sheriff’s Office.”
The promised donation never occurred, however, as it was scuttled after Sung and Moyer learned that the DA had executed a search warrant in August 2019 seizing all of the CCW license records as part of the ongoing investigation.
Undersheriff Rick Sung managed to do slightly better with Chadha, however, who offered up $6,000 worth of luxury box seat tickets to a San Jose Sharks hockey game — tickets that were used by Sheriff Laurie Smith to hold a small celebration for family members and some of her biggest political supporters in recognition of her re-election as County Sheriff, although at this point it’s unclear whether Smith had any direct knowledge of how the tickets were obtained.
Apple Stands Behind Moyer
Apple has issued a statement emphasizing that it believes that Moyer is innocent of the charges being presented against him, while Moyer’s lawyer, Ed Swanson, has suggested that Apple’s security chief is being used as a pawn caught up in the middle of a political dispute.
We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity. After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing.Apple statement
Moyer has worked at Apple for 14 years, and according to his lawyer has “acted with the highest integrity throughout his career,” noting that the case is entirely political and the result of an investigation that focuses on long-standing malfeasance by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office.
Ultimately, this case is about a long, bitter and very public dispute between the Santa Clara County Sheriff and the District Attorney, and Tom is collateral damage to that dispute.Ed Swanson, Moyer’s defense lawyer
As CNBC adds, an investigation conducted by NBC Bay Area earlier this year found that donors to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s political campaigns were 14 times more likely to get approved for a concealed weapons permits, versus those who didn’t contribute.
Another set of indictments was also issued in August for four other individuals, including a Sheriff’s captain, the treasurer of a committee for County Sheriff Laurie Smith’s 2018 re-election campaign, and a local attorney and a local businessman, all of whom were accused of arranging political bribes in exchange for CCW licenses.
As the District Attorney’s office explains, fees to obtain a CCW license in Santa Clara County normally only total between $200 and $400, and while applicants must demonstrate “good cause” for the license, must complete a firearms course and have “good moral character,” the actual Sheriff’s Office has broad discretion in determining who should actually qualify, making it fairly easy for them to hold up the issuance of permits for seemingly legitimate reasons.
Moyer and the other defendants in the case are expected to be arraigned on January 11, 2021 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.