- An Amazon buyer pleaded guilty to more than $ 290,000 in fraud for sending counterfeit returns.
- Prosecutors said Hudson Hamrick of North Carolina bought expensive items and then returned cheap ones.
- Amazon noticed the fraudulent returns that began in 2016 and referred the case to the FBI.
An Amazon buyer who has bought expensive items – including a top-notch iMac Pro – for five years and then returned cheaper items as returns faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, prosecutors said.
Hudson Hamrick, of Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on Tuesday, a court record found.
The Justice Department also issued a statement Tuesday saying Hamrick faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.
Hamrick’s public defender did not immediately respond to Insiders’ request for comment.
U.S. lawyers filed charges against Hamrick in September, saying he made about 300 fraudulent transactions with Amazon. That included about 270 product returns – about 250 of which were “significantly different in value” – totaling more than $ 290,000, the billing document said, and another listing multiple Hamrick consent transactions.
Many of the transactions followed a simple pattern, prosecutors said: Hamrick would order an expensive item, arrange for a return, and then ship a similar – but less valuable – item. Sometimes he also sold the expensive item, which offset him both the return on investment and the resale value, prosecutors said.
In August 2019, for example, Hamrick ordered an Apple iMac Pro for $ 4,256.85, US lawyers said. After about two weeks, Hamrick started the return process at Amazon, which then issued a refund.
“Instead of returning the high-end iMac Pro, Hamrick returned a much older, less valuable non-Pro model with a completely different serial number,” said a court document filed by Maria K. Vento, a US assistant attorney .
A week before Hamrick initiated his Amazon return, he was selling an iMac Pro on eBay, Vento said.
Prosecutors said Hamrick ordered a Jura GIGA W3 Professional coffee maker for $ 3,536.46; an Asus ROG Zephyrus gaming laptop for $ 2,776.52; and a Fuji Spray System for $ 1,227.31. Every time he returned an inferior item or an older model, the prosecutor said.
An Amazon spokesman told Insider that the tech giant discovered the suspected fraud and referred the case to law enforcement. It worked with the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in North Carolina.
“Amazon has systems in place to detect suspicious behavior, and teams to investigate and stop prohibited activities,” the spokesman said. “There is no place for fraud on Amazon and we will continue to do everything we can to hold malicious actors accountable.”