It's no secret that CPU engineering samples get around; if they didn't, we wouldn't be treated to spy shots from the Far East on a regular basis. Well, four engineers in Taiwan allegedly tried to turn the whole thing into an industrial enterprise, and they got pinched by the Taiwanese equivalent of the FBI. Here's the scoop from EE Times:
Detectives had been tracking the suspects since September, conducting a raid on their homes last month, taking 178 sample CPUs – worth an estimated $82,500—into police custody.
According to the CIB’s statement, the suspects admitted to selling more than 500 Intel engineering sample CPUs since 2009.
The four suspects worked for "Intel's OEM manufacturers in Taiwan." They allegedly peddled "rare" chips with unlocked multipliers, which I'm guessing were prized among the overclockers and enthusiasts who managed to snag them. EE Times doesn't say if the suspects ever put any pre-release chips up for auction, though.