They published advertisements for the sale of new electronic objects at a lower price than usual on pages for buying and selling between individuals. When someone was interested in the ad, they requested the object through Amazon to have it shipped to the buyer’s address. Days later, they processed their return, received the money back, and sent a box of marbles or pens to the e-commerce company. A perfect business. They did so hundreds of times until they were denounced by Amazon and detained by the National Police. Three young people from Mallorca have been sentenced to 12 months in prison and a fine of 1,080 euros each after committing this modus operandi the biggest scam against Amazon in Europe and defrauding 350,000 euros through product returns.
This Tuesday, the second section of the Provincial Court of Palma has hosted the trial against the three 22-year-olds, who have appeared via videoconference because they currently reside outside the island. The three have acknowledged their guilt and have been sentenced for a crime of aggravated fraud with the very qualified mitigating circumstance of repairing the damage after having returned the 350,000 euros that they defrauded through the returns of electronic purchases. Part of the money returned to Amazon came through the bitcoins that the investigating court seized from the three young people and that they changed to euros, in the presence of the National Police, before the great fall in the cryptocurrency market.
The events occurred between 2017 and July 2019 when the three young people agreed to profit by taking advantage of a loophole in Amazon’s return policy. They offered the products on buying and selling platforms at prices below the usual and then ordered them on Amazon, including the buyer’s shipping address. The defendants contacted Amazon to report that the product had arrived in poor condition and requested its return. The trading company on-line I gave them a code to send and scan at the Post Office and they pretended to return the product. However, the boxes contained everything from marbles to pens, papers, or even arrived empty.
They did so more than 200 times, obtaining profits of 350,000 euros until the multinational realized the deception and contacted the National Police. Amazon appeared in the case as a private prosecution, but withdrew from the process once it obtained the refund of the entire amount defrauded. The Prosecutor’s Office continued with the matter and initially accused the three young people of belonging to a criminal organization, money laundering and aggravated fraud. Finally, and after reaching a compliance agreement between his lawyer, Javier Morente, and the Prosecutor’s Office, they have been sentenced to 12 months in prison each and a fine of 1,080 euros. One of the three convicted youths has offered to work with Amazon to help the company patch the breaches in its security systems.
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