Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota has been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an alleged scheme targeting Home Depot.
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A Connecticut man was given nearly $300,000 in fraudulent Home Depot credit by walking into stores in several states, taking expensive doors and then returning them without a receipt, federal prosecutors allege.
Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota, 26, of West Hartford, Connecticut, was detained without bail after a judge entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf this week in federal court in Rhode Island to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence said in a statement Wednesday.
An email seeking comment was left with Costa-Mota’s attorney.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the alleged fraud occurred between June 2021 and February 2022.
Prosecutors say Costa-Mota entered stores empty-handed, “dressed to appear like a contractor.” He would then collect Andersen doors and bring them to each store’s service department, where he made non-receipted returns of the doors.
Each time he succeeded, Costa-Mota was given a store credit that he later redeemed at other stores in Connecticut and neighboring states.
If a store refused to accept the returns, Costa-Mota allegedly took the Andersen doors without paying for them and returned them at other stores for store credit.
Home Depot stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey were involved. Prosecutors said Costa-Mota was given about 370 fraudulent store credits between June 2021 and February 2022.
Home Depot’s policy allows customers to return items without a receipt. Still, the home improvement chain has safeguards that are supposed to prevent people from taking advantage, including asking for identification that requires third-party verification, according to court documents.
In this case, the defendant apparently used his own driver’s license once, then used several fraudulent licenses with other names, to conduct the other returns, court records say.
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