Samsung employee allegedly steals 8,500 phones to pay off gambling debt

A Samsung employee has given a brand-new meaning to the term gambling problem. As per a report from The Investor, an employee identified only by his surname (Lee) is alleged to have stolen a whopping 8,474 smartphones from the company over the course of two years to pay off his gambling debt. Authorities claim his spree took place between December 2014 and November 2016 at the Samsung headquarters in Suwon, South Korea — a rather alarmingly long period of time for such theft to go unnoticed.

So what did he do with all these phones? He certainly didn’t give them away to the needy. Instead, police say he sold the handsets to a reseller, and turned a rather handy profit of more than $710,000. But now, the alleged fun is over, and Lee has been arrested.

He first joined the South Korean tech conglomerate in 2010, and his job involved maintaining old phones that Samsung developers use to engineer upgrades or test new features. While most Samsung employees are required to pass through a body scanner before leaving company premises, Lee was excused from this practice because he is wheelchair-bound. And he certainly took advantage of being able to bypass security if the accusations prove to be true.

Apparently, Samsung did not notice that the phones had gone missing until December 2016, when the company realized that some phones that shouldn’t have been on the market were being sold and purchased in Vietnam. The thefts were eventually traced back to Lee, and police say that the money he made off his alleged illicit dealing was used to pay off his gambling debt of nearly $800,000.

Of course, this is by no means the only Samsung employee in trouble with the law. Even the most senior of the company’s executives are also in hot water these days, as the de facto head of the company, Lee Jae-yong, was arrested earlier this year in connection with a political scandal that has rocked the nation. That trial is currently ongoing.

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