September 7, 2017

Georgia man sentenced for defrauding Staples of more than $1.4 million

Grant Welker
A Georgia man has been sentenced for defrauding Staples out of more than $1.4 million

A Georgia man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and must pay over $1.2 million for defrauding Framingham-based Staples out of more than $1.4 million.

John Douglas, 46, of Alpharetta, Ga., was sentenced Wednesday to the prison term and two years of supervised release after. He's ordered to pay $691,327 in restitution and $553,061 in forfeiture, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts.

Douglas, who plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, created more than 1,100 Staples rewards accounts by using phony names and identities to gain more than $1.4 million worth of customer loyalty rewards and product rebates, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Douglas and alleged co-conspirator Layne Michael Gosnell used a computer script to find unclaimed customer loyalty rewards for purchases they didn't make. The computer script made thousands of queries a day and although most rewards were less than one dollar at a time, the script amassed more than $889.000 worth of rewards.

With the rewards in hand, Douglas and Gosnell used rewards like cash at Staples locations to buy products that were sold on eBay. A similar method was used by the pair to claim more than $527,000 in cash rebates from the office supply chain for products they didn't purchase, according to prosecutors.

Gosnell was charged with the same offenses as Douglas on Aug. 4 and is awaiting trial.

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