Crime (Against Amazon) Doesn’t Pay

Beware, those who think defrauding or scamming Amazon is a good idea — getting caught can be costly.

According to a recent article from Fortune, Erin and Leah Finan, a husband and wife fraud team from Muncie, Indiana, scammed Amazon out of $1.2 million in electronics goods and are being ordered to repay the eCommerce platform $1,218,504.

The couple did not use the world’s most complex scam to perpetrate the fraud, either. They simply reported electronics items they had purchased and received as missing or damaged, then kept the merchandise and accepted their refunds. The Finans then resold the merchandise — higher-value electronics like GoPro digital cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches and Microsoft Surface tablets, among other items — to a third accomplice in the scam, Danijel Glumac. Glumac, in turn, sold the goods to an unnamed “New York entity,” according to the Fortune article.

Generally speaking, it is cheaper and easier for Amazon to just replace items or issue a refund than to investigate such claims, Fortune reported. But, when people like the Finans go the extra mile to create hundreds of fake identities to steal more than $1 million in merchandise, it seems Amazon will also go the extra mile to catch such scammers.

The couple will face up to 20 years behind bars for fraud and money laundering. The Finans have pleaded guilty and, as part of the deal, they have also agreed not to appeal the sentence if they are given fewer than seven years and three months in prison, Fortune reported.

In addition, the Finans have to pay Amazon back for the $1.2 million they stole, a challenge for them as they only made $725,000 on the scam.

Looks like some sort of fundraiser might be in order.


Latest Insights: 

The Payments 2022 Study: Building A High-Performance Payments Team For Fraud Detection, a PYMNTS collaboration with Stripe, examines how digital platforms of all sectors and sizes plan to develop their anti-fraud teams as part of their their broader growth and development strategies. Drawing from an extensive survey from approximately 250 payments heads at digital platforms in the U.S. and abroad, our study analyzes how poor anti-fraud capabilities can harm platforms’ long-term growth strategies, and how they can build high-performing teams to tackle these challenges.


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