"A 36-year-old man from Portage, Michigan, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly renting thousands of textbooks from Amazon and selling them rather than returning them
," reports the Register: From January 2016 through March 2021, according to the indictment, Talsma rented textbooks from the Amazon Rental program in order to sell them for a profit... His alleged fraud scheme involved using Amazon gift cards to rent the textbooks and prepaid MyVanilla Visa cards with minimal credit balances to cover the buyout price charged for books not returned. "These gift cards and MyVanilla Visa cards did not contain names or other means of identifying him as the person renting the textbooks," the indictment says. "Geoffrey Mark Talsma made sure that the MyVanilla Visa cards did not have sufficient credit balances, or any balance at all, when the textbook rentals were past due so that Amazon could not collect the book buyout price from those cards."
As the scheme progressed, the indictment says, Talsma "recruited individuals, including defendants Gregory Mark Gleesing, Lovedeep Singh Dhanoa, and Paul Steven Larson, and other individuals known to the grand jury, to allow him to use their names and mailing addresses to further continue receiving rental textbooks in amounts well above the fifteen-book limit..."
The indictment says the four alleged scammers stole 14,000 textbooks worth over $1.5m. The U.S. Department of Justice adds If convicted, Talsma faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years for each of the mail and wire fraud offenses; a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years for interstate transportation of stolen property; and a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years for making false statements to the FBI.
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