Connecticut Man Accused of Defrauding Home Depot of Nearly $300,000
Connecticut resident Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota has been arrested on charges of defrauding Home Depot out of nearly $300,000. According to charging documents, Costa-Mota executed a non-receipted return scheme at Home Depot stores across eight different states.
The fraudulent activities allegedly took place between June 2021 and February 2022. Costa-Mota would enter Home Depot stores empty-handed and dress as a contractor, aiming to blend in and appear legitimate. Once inside, he would grab expensive doors and proceed to return them without a receipt, exchanging them for store credit.
This cunning scheme involved Costa-Mota bringing the doors to the service department, where he would complete non-receipted returns. Each successful return earned him store credit, which he later redeemed at various Home Depot locations in Connecticut and neighboring states.
In cases where a store refused to accept his returns, Costa-Mota allegedly resorted to taking the doors without paying for them and returning them at other stores. Prosecutors claim that over a period of at least nine months, he managed to accumulate a staggering 370 fraudulent store credits, amassing a total value of $297,332.
While Home Depot does have a policy allowing for returns without a receipt, the company has implemented safeguards to prevent abuse. These measures include requiring identification and utilizing a third-party refund verification system. However, Costa-Mota allegedly circumvented these safeguards by using fraudulent driver’s licenses or identification with made-up names.
The evidence against Costa-Mota was provided by Home Depot’s Organized Retail Crime Investigators, who contributed video surveillance footage, photographs, and documentation of the thefts to law enforcement agencies.
This case serves as a reminder for retailers to prioritize the prevention and detection of fraudulent activities. Companies like Home Depot must continually adapt their security systems to stay ahead of sophisticated schemes that pose significant financial risks.
As the legal proceedings continue, it remains to be seen how Costa-Mota’s actions will impact Home Depot’s policies and procedures, and how the company will respond to ensure the protection of its customers and assets.
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