A couple from Muncie, Indiana has admitted to swindling Amazon out of more than $1.2 million in electronics.
Erin Joseph Finan, 38, and Leah Jeanette Finan, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in Indianapolis to charges of mail fraud and money laundering in connection with the racket.
The two used a classic scam - buying items and then reporting them missing or damaged - to obtain GoPro digital cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets that they sold to accomplice Danijel Glumac, 28, who then sold the merchandise to an unnamed ''New York entity'', according to authorities.
The couple created "hundreds" of false identities to conceal the scam. Prosecutors say the Finans sold the loot to Glumac, then resold it. The trio was busted in May.
Glumac, who was also charged, allegedly paid the Finans about $725,000. The merchandise was eventually resold on the black market. "Consumer fraud is absorbed by all of us through higher retail prices," US Attorney John Minkler said at the time.
The Finans were ordered to repay Amazon $1.2 million – though they only made $725,000 off the scheme - and they face up to 20 years in prison. Judge Tanya Watt Pratt set the sentencing for 9 November.
As per their plea agreement, the couple waived their right to appeal the decision if they're sentenced to fewer than seven years and three months in prison, and they must repay Amazon $1,218,504.
For Amazon, it's often cheaper to replace items when claims are filed than to investigate, and it is unclear how the Finans' racket was busted.