Three people who admitted to stealing over $1 million in merchandise from Amazon through an elaborate returns scheme have received prison sentences, and some approach up to six years.
Erin and Leah Finan, a couple from Indiana, pulled off the plot by taking advantage of Amazon’s generous returns policy, which does not always require a returned item be sent back before a replacement is issued. The couple ordered electronics like tablets and GoPro cameras on Amazon, and then initiated returns for the items on Amazon but never actually sent the items back. Instead, they were sold below market value to a third party, Danijel Glumac, who would then resell them at a tidy profit through an unnamed New York entity.
US District Court Judge Tanya Pratt sentenced all three this week. Erin and Leah Finan were handed 71- and 68-month sentences, respectively, and Glumac received a 24-month sentence. In a release regarding the case, US Attorney Josh Minkler said, “Consumer fraud not only unjustly enriches the perpetrator, it causes all of us to pay higher retail prices. To those who seek to exploit the convenience of online shopping through fraud, remember this case. You will be caught. You will be prosecuted. And you will go to federal prison for a long time.”
The couple was initially caught last year by a joint investigation that was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Indiana State Police. In addition to time in prison, the couple will have to pay Amazon back $1,218,504 for the stolen merchandise.