7 Feb, 2023 @ 19:15
1 min read

Three youngsters in Spain found guilty of the biggest ever fraud against Amazon in Europe

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THREE 22-year-olds from Mallorca have been convicted for what has been described as the biggest fraud against online retailer Amazon ever seen in Europe. 

The youngsters were found guilty of swindling as much as €350,000 from the company by taking advantage of its returns policy.

The modus operandi of the criminals was to offer products for sale on second-hand websites at a low cost. When someone purchased one, the trio would order it from Amazon and send it directly to the buyer’s address. 

Then they would request a refund by claiming that the product was defective or damaged, sending back a box along with the barcode supplied by Amazon in order to manage the return. 

The box, however, would contain anything from pens to marbles, or would be completely empty.

They repeated the scam hundreds of times between 2017 and 2019, earning themselves hundreds of thousands of euros in the process. 

Amazon realised what was happening and contacted the National Police, according to Spanish daily El Pais

The case was tried by the Provincial High Court in Palma de Mallorca, and all three admitted their guilt. 

They were sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay a fine of €1,080. The court took into account the fact that they returned the full total of the money defrauded. 

The three are unlikely to see the inside of a prison cell for their crimes, however, given that sentences of two years and under for a first offence are usually suspended in Spain. 

One of the three has also offered to work for Amazon to help it to close the loopholes in its security systems.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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