Man Scams Home Depot Stores Out Of $300,000 By Returning Doors

author photo or placeholder By: Riley Brown | Published: Sep 12, 2023

Federal prosecutors allege a Connecticut man devised a meticulous strategy to defraud The Home Depot of nearly $300,000 worth of store credit by taking expensive doors and returning them without a receipt.

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This case underscores the potential vulnerabilities inherent in retail return policies, and the lengths individuals might go to exploit them.

Suspected Orchestrator of the Multi-State Scam

Federal authorities have identified Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota as the primary suspect behind the widespread scam.

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By allegedly abusing Home Depot’s return policy, Costa-Mota consistently deceived the retailer across multiple states. The calculated nature of his actions raises concerns about the efficacy of current anti-fraud measures.

Seamless Execution Raises Concerns

Masquerading as a contractor, Costa-Mota would enter Home Depot stores and proceed to load high-value doors onto a lumber cart. His next step was to approach the service department and return these doors, often without a receipt.

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In many instances, he walked away with store credit, which he later utilized at different Home Depot branches.

Wide-Spread Fraud Across States

The scam’s breadth is staggering. Home Depot outlets across eight states fell prey to this fraudulent scheme.

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Over a mere eight-month period, from June 2021 to February 2022, Costa-Mota is believed to have unlawfully acquired an astounding 370 fraudulent store credits, exposing a glaring loophole in the retailer’s internal systems.

Bypassing Verification Systems

Home Depot’s existing return policy is designed with safety measures in mind. Yet, Costa-Mota seemingly found loopholes. He initially used his genuine driver’s license but quickly pivoted to multiple fraudulent IDs for subsequent returns.

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This alarming revelation emphasizes the urgent need for retailers to revisit and reinforce their verification measures.