January 11, 2018

Georgia man sentenced for $900K Staples fraud

Grant Welker
Layne Michael Gosnell and a co-conspirator profited more than $1.4 million by defrauding Staples' rewards program.

A Georgia man has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison and must pay nearly $900,000 for defrauding Framingham office supply retailer Staples.

Layne Michael Gosnell, 46, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his role in a scheme aimed at defrauding Staples using customer loyalty rewards and product rebates, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the scheme resulted in Gosnell and co-conspirator John Douglas making more than $1.4 million. The men created more than 1,100 rewards accounts using phony identities and created a computer script to seek unclaimed customer loyalty rewards on a Staples website for purchases neither men made.

The script made thousands of queries a day and amassed almost $900,000 worth of rewards, but each reward was often less than $1 a peice.

The rewards were used like cash to buy items at Staples locations along the eastern seaboard and then sold on eBay.

Gosnell and Douglas used a similar method to claim more than $527,000 in cash rebates from Staples for items they didn't purchase, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

In September, Douglas was sentenced to 30 months in prison and was ordered to pay $691,327 in restitution and forfeit $553,061 for his role in the scheme.


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