Orlando man stole $40,000 from Amazon through fake returns, police say

An Orlando man is being accused of filing dozens of fraudulent returns through Amazon and receiving refunds and credits of more than $40,000.

Wail Chouder, 33, was arrested last week on charges of organized scheme to defraud, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Law enforcement authorities began investigating Chouder in May of last year after Amazon identified him as an individual who they believed was engaged in fraud through a systematic pattern of return abuse.

According to an affidavit filed by FDLE, over the course of three years from May 2019 to May 2022, Chouder purchased a series of products through Amazon. After receiving an original product that he purchased, Chouder would allegedly substitute a materially different item of lesser value for the original product and would issue a return to the retailer.

Chouder would use a variety of reasons to request returns and, after initial reviews, he would receive refunds to the purchasing credit card or Amazon gift cards. Chouder would then keep the original product and the refund.

Through the scheme, Chouder purchased a collection of high-value products, including electronics, sporting goods, and luxury eyewear.

In one such instance, on May 18, 2022, Chouder ordered a Garmin Xero A1i PRO Bow Sight from Amazon for $1,299.99. On May 21, 2022, Chouder allegedly created a return authorization for the item, citing that the “item arrived too late.” That item was audited upon return by a site quality control inspector, who allowed the item to be returned to Amazon inventory after a visual inspection.

After the initial inspection, a request was made from an Amazon fraud specialist to locate the item and conduct a thorough review. Once the item was located, the fraud specialist reported that the item that was returned had a different serial number than the original purchase and was not the “PRO model” as listed.

Records show that Chouder made a series of similar returns dating back to 2019, with multiple instances in February 2022, October 2021, August 2021, May 2021, February 2021, and December 2020, among many other months.

During their secondary reviews, Amazon fraud specialists determined that in 27 different instances, Chouder returned different items that were broken, of lesser value, or older than the original items he purchased.

In instances in which Amazon would refuse the refund, Chouder filed chargeback claims with various credit card issuers by requesting the retailer to reimburse the credit card issuers for the fraudulent returns.

In total, the loss to Amazon was approximately $40,395.56.

Chouder was taken into custody on an active FDLE arrest warrant when he appeared for a separate court hearing on June 15. He was booked into the Orange County Jail.

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