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If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, you know the online retailer doesn’t always ask that you return damaged goods before it sends you new ones. Well, an Indiana couple took that policy too far, scamming the online giant out of $1.2 million in technology.
Court documents from May describe how Erin Finan and Leah Finan pulled off the modern-day Catch Me If You Can by purchasing hundreds of electronics and falsely claiming their orders contained damaged goods. They then requested replacement items, which Amazon provided without question.
The couple created hundreds of separate accounts to evade Amazon, which claims to closely monitor customer accounts for fraud. Among the items stolen were GoPros, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets.
An accomplice, Danijel Glumac, is also named in the court document. Instead of selling all the tech out of their own home, the Finans allegedly sold the goods to Glumac from their van for under retail value. Glumac then reportedly marked them up and shipped them to an “entity” in New York where they were sold to the public. The charges allege Glumac laundered the money through different bank accounts linked to his clothing store before giving the couple their share.
It wasn’t Amazon who discovered the foul play, but the IRS, U.S. Postal Service, and state police of Indiana.
The Finans pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering. They now face a maximum of 20 years in jail and will be ordered to pay Amazon the total value of their scheme, or $1,218,504, as part of a plea deal. Sentencing hearings are set for Nov. 9.
H/T Digital Trends
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.