Back in October, Gizmodo reported that a couple in the US state of Indiana had been charged for relieving $1.2 million (£895,400) worth of merchandise from Amazon. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana yesterday sentenced husband and wife Erin and Leah Finan to nearly six years in prison each.
Long touting itself as “customer-obsessed,” Amazon is famous for its incredibly lenient refund policy—something the Finans were more than happy to abuse. By fraudulently claiming the purchased goods, which included high-resale items like “GoPro digital cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets,” were broken, the couple was able to fence the (very much functioning) gadgets through a third party by the name of Danijel Glumac. Today, he was also sentenced to two years prison time.
Erin and Leah’s sentences of 71 and 68 months, respectively, may appear extreme for ripping off one of the most valuable companies on earth—even if they did so knowingly, repeatedly, and exceptionally well over more than two years. As the Justice Department notes, however, fraud was “a way of life” for the Finans, and Amazon was far from couple’s only angle:
They bounced checks. They rented cars but never paid for them. They rented houses but never paid the rent. And they even committed another online fraud involving stealing high-end rental softball equipment and selling it on Facebook groups of parents of children who were serious about softball.
For its part, Amazon has reportedly been banning customers—sometimes with little or not warning—who make too many returns, or are otherwise determined to be a hassle.
The Finans and Glumac were ordered to pay back their $1,218,504 (£909,248) in ill-gotten gains. [DoJ]