October 3, 2016

Couple charged with defrauding Staples of over $1.4M

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A Georgia couple allegedly used a scheme to obtain Staples merchandise and sell it on eBay.

A Georgia couple has been charged with carrying out a scheme that reportedly defrauded Framingham-based Staples of over $1.4 million.

It was announced Friday by the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office that John Douglas, 46, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. His wife, Analyn Douglass [sic], 41, was separately charged with conspiracy to ship stolen goods in interstate commerce.

According to a release from the Attorney General's Office, the Douglases and others engaged in a complex scheme to defraud Staples of more than $1.4 million worth of customer loyalty rewards and product rebates. John Douglas allegedly created more than 1,100 Staples rewards accounts, and used a computer script to amass more than $889,000 worth of rewards in small increments, often less than a dollar at a time. The rewards were then used like cash to buy merchandise that was sold on eBay.

The Douglases and associates allegedly used a similar method to claim more than $527,000 in cash rebates from Staples for products that they did not purchase.

Staples discovered the fraud and referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney's Office for investigation. Staples has cooperated with the government's investigation.

The charges of wire and mail fraud could carry sentences of no more than 20 years in prison. The charge of conspiracy to ship stolen goods provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison.

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