Three charged federally in Amazon fraud scheme
Alleged to have stolen and sold over $1.2 million in consumer electronics
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today that three individuals were charged this week in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud online retailer Amazon of hundreds of consumer electronics items and sell them on the black market. Erin Finan, 37, and Leah Finan, 37, husband and wife from the Muncie-Anderson area, agreed to plead guilty to federal mail fraud and money laundering charges. Danijel Glumac, 28, of Indianapolis, was charged in a grand jury indictment with interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.
“Consumer fraud is absorbed by all of us through higher retail prices,” said Minkler. “Buying and selling black market items across state lines is against federal law and those who choose to ignore that will be held accountable.”
According to court documents, the Finans defrauded Amazon by falsely claiming that the electronics they ordered were damaged or not working, and then requesting and receiving replacements from Amazon at no charge. Amazon’s customer service policy allows, under certain circumstances, customers to receive a replacement before they return a broken item. Amazon closely monitors customers’ accounts and orders for possible fraudulent activity. The Finans allegedly went to great lengths to conceal their fraud, creating hundreds of false online identities to perpetrate the scheme. Eventually, however, Amazon and federal law enforcement caught up with them. In total, the Finans allegedly stole over $1.2 million in consumer electronics from Amazon, including GoPro digital cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets.
The charges further alleged that Glumac fenced the Finans’ stolen goods to an entity in New York. The Finans allegedly sold the stolen electronics out of their van to Glumac at a price substantially below their retail value. Glumac then marked them up and sold and shipped them to the New York entity, which in turn sold them to the public. Glumac also allegedly advised the Finans on how to evade detection by Amazon.
Finally, the charges alleged that Glumac laundered the proceeds from his sales of the stolen electronics through bank accounts associated with his clothing business before paying the Finans their cut. In total, Glumac allegedly received over $1.2 million from the New York entity, of which he paid approximately $725,000 to the Finans.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Indiana State Police.
Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who is prosecuting the case for the government, said that the charges carry maximum sentences of between 10 and 20 years in prison and fines of between $250,000 and $500,000.
An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.