Return fraud comes in many forms and the people behind the schemes are just as diverse. Merchants should not assume customers with an affluent shipping address are above such schemes. Case in point: a dermatologist who committed $313,000 in return fraud against Amazon by sending back lower quality goods. The suspect now faces charges.
Dr. Farhaad Riyaz, a dermatologist with residences in Washington DC and two states, faces mail fraud along with the return of stolen goods and $312,964.38 in restitution due to Amazon. Riyaz averaged over $100k per year in his return fraud scheme that started in 2017 and ended in 2020.
Riyaz purchased high-end and luxury goods from Amazon, would complain that the products arrived late or were not as advertised, then return lower-end or knock-off versions of the originally purchased product. This included a 4K laser projector from Sony costing over $37,000, with a different Sony projector that retails for $2,000 returned in its stead. He also targeted guitars and bidet toilet seats with a similar scheme.
Amazon’s fraud detection unit assisted the Justice Department in bringing a case against Riyaz, who plead guilty and faces sentencing in a couple of months.
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