Hamrick Hudson, a Charlotte, North Carolina man was charged, arrested and indicted with 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud which is the maximum amount one can be fined for such a scheme, according to an article in The Charlotte Observer. So how did Hamrick manage to cheat Amazon out of $290,000? How did he come up with such a ploy?
He would buy a high priced product such as a laptop or coffee maker, put in for a return on the product but would send a cheaper version of the same thing back and then sell the actual product that he was supposed to return at a higher price than what he initially bought it for. According to an article on the channel 11 WBT web site, some of the items purchased and sold included a coffee maker he purchased for $3,536 ad then returned a coffeemaker worth $1500 , returned a laptop that was worth $2,700 and the one he returned was about $400, according to an article on WCNC.com.
Hudson did not make all $290,000 overnight before he got caught. The timeframe he committed said fraud lasted from October of 2016 and the last known transaction of this case happened in October of 2020.
The way he would trick Amazon into giving him the money is he would call their return center and make some erroneous claim such as not having received the product or indicated the product was damaged and he needed to have a return.
So what exactly is Amazon’s return policy? According to donotpay.com, Amazon generally has a 30 day return policy but some third party sellers can have a return policy up to a minimum of seven days. However it only goes less than 30 if the seller in question is a third party seller that is not affiliated with Amazon. The only exceptions to that are mattresses which can be returned within 100 days, baby gear is 90 days and Amazon also has up to 30 days for any products that are faulty.
While Amazon generally does have a generous return policy they don’t have any intentions of letting up on criminals who try to cheat the system anytime soon.
An Amazon spokesman told the publication Business Insider, Amazon has systems in place to detect suspicious behavior, and teams in place to investigate and stop prohibited activity,” the spokesperson said. “There is no place for fraud at Amazon, and we will continue to pursue all measures to hold bad actors accountable.”