Amazon is known for being one of the better companies when it comes to returning faulty products, but some people do exploit the system. One couple from Muncie, Indiana took this to its extremes by stealing more than $1.2 million worth of merchandise from the online retailer.
Erin Joseph Finan and Leah Jeanette Finan, who were first accused of their crimes back in May, have formally pleaded guilty to defrauding Amazon.
The couple’s scheme involved purchasing goods from the company and falsely claiming they didn’t work or were damaged. It was then a matter of requesting replacement items from Amazon, which, in certain cases, allows customers to receive these goods before they return a broken product.
The Finans then sold both the original and replacement items to Danijel Glumac, 28, of Indianapolis for a slightly lower price than their retail value. In turn, he sold them on to an entity in New York, where they made their way to the public via the black market.
Glumac made around $1.2 million from his New York buyer and paid the Finans about $725,000. He advised the couple on how to avoid detection by Amazon by using hundreds of false online identities.
The items in question included GoPro digital cameras, Xboxs, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets.
At the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, the pair pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges, which carry maximum 20-year sentences and fines between $250,000 - $500,000. They must also pay Amazon $1,218,504 in restitution and, under the terms of a plea agreement, waive their right to appeal if sentenced to fewer than seven years and three months in prison.
Danijel Glumac was charged for interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.