A New York teen with a passion for electronics and serious initiative got tired of waiting for white iPhone 4s. So he skipped Apple and ordered the necessary parts from Foxconn. Now he has $130,000—and legal threats.
Seventeen year old Fei Lam, only a high school senior, tells the Observer that "I knew a guy from a few years back that had somewhat of a relationship with folks in Foxconn." This "guy" (No—nothing shady about this at all, no sir) was able to export the exact same components that go into Apple's certified phones straight to Queens, where Fei packaged them up and sold them online as conversion kits. Clever! And lucrative—the grey market business has put over $130,000 in Fei's pockets since August—a sum he hopes will help him pay for a degree in computer science or business at NYU.
At least, that was the plan, until he received a threatening letter from a private investigator, accusing the enterprising lad of "selling stolen goods." Fei isn't sure who the letter was sent on behalf of (though it shouldn't be too hard to narrow it down!), but worries he might face the staggering six-figure fines or imprisonment that face others convicted of selling "stolen goods" online.
But Fei's got guts, and is grabbing a lawyer instead of shutting down his site. Whether or not he makes it to NYU, it's clear he's got a decent bit of business acumen already. [The Observer via Fast Company]