"To those who seek to exploit the convenience of online shopping through fraud, remember this case." That's the message from a chief prosecutor in Indiana who helped send three people to prison for a scheme that defrauded Amazon of $1.2 million. US Attorney Josh Minkler says married couple Erin and Leah Finan stole more than 2,700 electronics items from Amazon, including Apple MacBooks, Samsung smartwatches, and GoPro cameras, by demanding free replacements for products they wrongly claimed as faulty. The 38-year-olds used "hundreds" of false identities to order and pick up items at locations across the state, netting $750,000 between 2014 and 2016, reports USA Today. Danijel Glumac benefited, too. Police say the 29-year-old accomplice made $500,000 selling the stolen goods for a profit to a buyer in New York.
The buyer then raised prices again before offering the products for sale to the public, including on Amazon, per MarketWatch. "Consumer fraud not only unjustly enriches the perpetrator, it causes all of us to pay higher retail prices," Minkler said Monday in announcing sentences for the accused, all three of whom accepted guilty pleas and must pay $1.2 million in restitution. Glumac, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to two years in prison for money laundering and fencing stolen products. The Finans, from the Muncie-Anderson area, were sentenced to just under six years (71 months and 68 months, respectively) for federal mail fraud and money laundering, though prosecutors said they also considered that the pair had bounced checks, rented houses and cars without paying, and sold stolen sports equipment on Facebook, per a release. (Read more Amazon stories.)