Scammers have always been aware of Amazon's generous refund policy.
For Amazon, it's often cheaper to replace items when these claims are filed than to investigate.
A couple from Munice, Indiana have admitted stealing more than $1.2 million from Amazon, using the company's returns system as well as a network of fake online personalities to defraud the online retailer for years.
Erin Finan, 38, and Leah Finan, 37, enacted their scheme by taking advantage of Amazon's accommodating returns policy, which does not always require a broken item be sent back before a replacement is issued.
By claiming that the electronics they had ordered arrived damaged, the Muncie, Indiana couple was able to land products like GoPro action cameras, Samsung smartwatches, Xbox consoles, and Surface tablets made by Microsoft, through creating hundreds of different fake identities online to hide the crimes.
It appears as though the Finan's were victims of a con as well: For the more than $1.2 million in goods they ordered and ended up not paying for on Amazon, they only received back about $725,000 from what they sold to Glumac.
From 2014 to 2017, the Finans received over 2,100 replacement items, including "GoPro digital cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets".
Minkler's office says that Glumac would transport the stolen goods to associates based in NY after the Finans would sell the items out of their vans at prices "substantially lower than retail value".
The couple created "hundreds" of false identities to hide the scam. The deal also said the Finans waived their right to appeal if they're sentenced to less than seven years and three months in prison.
The couple was eventually nabbed by a joint investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Indiana State Police. With the plea agreement, the Finans will be ordered to pay $1,218,504 in restitution to Amazon, according to USA Today.