22-Year Old Scams Amazon Out Of $370,000 By Filing Returns, Sending Boxes Filled With Dirt, Selling Original Items

August 5, 2019

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22-year old James Gilbert Kwarteng of Palma de Mallorca, Spain was recently arrested after scamming Amazon out of an estimated $370,000 by purchasing expensive items, then filing returns for the items and sending the boxes back with dirt that weighed the exact same as the original package, and selling the real items. Some more info while I wish I'd thought of it first but was smart enough to use a patsy to do all the dirty(!) work for me:

The return packages would end up sitting around in Amazon's warehouses where they aren't checked often. The scam wasn't discovered until through a random search where someone opened a box and discovered it was full of dirt.

Amazon's return policy states items shipped from the website, including Amazon Warehouse, can be returned within 30 days of receipt. Refunds are processed in two business days and customers can expect their funds show in their account in three to five business days.

Wait -- so returns just sit around in warehouses collecting dust? I mean these were obviously expensive returns. And there's no system to flag and investigate accounts with hundreds of thousands of dollars of returns? I feel like there's got to be a better way. Granted I have no clue what that way is, but I'm not exactly a captain of industry. I am, however, captain of a pirate ship. "No, you pretend your penis is a Spanish galleon whenever you take a bath." SEXY FACTS.

Thanks to Carsten and Irina A, who agrees the best is when Amazon tells you that you don't even need to send back the item you're returning and they just send you a new one but you also get to keep the broken one and try to fix it with tape and zip ties McGyver style.

  • Yomismo

    There was recently another scam/theft by an Amazon Spain employee.

    He had an accomplice that made orders for cheap products and the employee replaced them with more expensive products but of similar dimensions and weight.

    It was discovered on a routine check.

  • I'm amazed he thought it would work... but I'm even more amazed that it did work, at least to the point of $370k

  • shashi
  • Frédéric Purenne

    How can someone try something like this and think he will NOT get found out one way or another?

  • Captain Matticus, LP Inc.

    In fairness to him, he did scam them out of $370K before he was caught. That's quite a few purchases, and he probably started out with small, inexpensive items. Realizing that he hadn't been caught, he probably grew bolder, which is usually when the scams are noticed.

    Madoff didn't start out by building the world's largest Ponzi scheme. It took years, maybe even decades for him to create that, and he was probably only caught once his lies became too large to manage.

    And that should make us all wonder about just what kind of shenanigans are going on day in and day out, just on the small scale.

  • Frédéric Purenne

    So... false sense of security through repetition?

  • Captain Matticus, LP Inc.

    Pretty much.

  • Closet Nerd

    So what eventually happens with all the returned packages?
    I heard a similar story of some guys were supposed to be delivering trucks of returned items to a warehouse, but instead sold all the returned goods to pawn shops. How do people think they won't get caught doing this shit?

  • Nicholas Conrad

    They probably went out as Amazon warehouse deals without even being opened.

  • Nosaj Canuck

    And no one complained about getting a box of dirt?

  • Nicholas Conrad

    Why do you think they were checking them? "Randomly"doesn't really seem like a process Amazon uses in its wearhouses now does it?

  • Nosaj Canuck

    If they checked every package, would this scam not have been found out earlier? Article also reports this as found during a random check... so...

  • Nicholas Conrad

    Yes; exactly. My implication was that amazon is lying in the article so you're not afraid of getting a box of dirt for your next wearhouse deal order... I don't usually have to spell everything out here... So.....

  • Nosaj Canuck

    Ahh, ya got trust issues. Got it.

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