An Indiana couple has pled guilty to charges of federal mail fraud and money laundering resulting from an elaborate plot that fleeced Amazon out of over $1.2 million in merchandise, according to The Star Press.
Erin Finan, 38, and Leah Finan, 37, enacted their scheme by taking advantage of Amazonâ€™s accommodating returns policy, which does not always require a broken item be sent back before a replacement is issued. Under hundreds of false identities, the couple ordered electronic goods like GoPro cameras and Samsung smartwatches, then would claim the item was damaged or not working once they received it. Amazon would issue a replacement, but they would never send back the item they reported as defective.
A third party, Danijel Glumac, then helped the couple move the stolen items and also advised them on how to stay unnoticed by Amazon. The Finans would sell the electronics below market price to Glumac, who would then mark them up for resale to the public through an unnamed New York entity. Glumac also allegedly laundered the profits from these sales before paying the Finans their share. In total, Glumac was paid out over $1.2 million for the goods, around $725,000 of which went to the Finans.
The couple was eventually caught by a joint investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Indiana State Police. They were charged in May with federal mail fraud and money laundering, and have now pled guilty. Under their plea agreement, the couple will have to pay Amazon back $1,218,504 for the stolen merchandise and they also face up to 20 years in jail. Sentencing for the pair is set for November 9th.