Siblings sentenced to prison for stealing 800 Stanford laptops

April 21, 2022, 12:09 a.m.

Former Stanford employee Patricia Castaneda has received a sentence to serve 33 months in prison and pay more than $4 million in restitution, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California on Monday. Her brother, Eric Castaneda, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller.

Patricia Castaneda worked in the School of Humanities and Sciences and had the responsibility of ordering MacBooks for faculty and staff. Instead of providing the laptops to the intended recipients, she started selling the laptops for cash to an unidentified individual on Craigslist in 2009 or 2010.

The Daily has reached out for comment as to whether the University has been in correspondence with either of the Castaneda siblings or their lawyers, but did not receive an immediate reply.

In Feb. 2016, the sister began giving the stolen laptops to her brother, who in turn sold them to Philip James, a resident of Folsom, Calif., who then resold them to buyers outside the state. This activity continued through July 2019. In total, James accumulated at least 800 laptops. He has since pleaded guilty (as of April 11), while the siblings had pleaded guilty last year. Mr. Castaneda has been ordered to pay roughly $2.3 million in restitution. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Mueller expects to sentence James on July 25.

Matthew Turk ’24 is a Data Director for The Stanford Daily and is majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics. He has previously served as a desk editor in News, managing editor of The Grind and Chief Technology Officer. This past summer, he was a Software Engineering Intern at Apple. His novels, An Invincible Summer (2021) and Baba Yaga (2022), are in stores. Ask Matthew about astrophysics, football and the automotive industry. Contact him at mturk ‘at’

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