Every now and then a points & miles blogger puts out a post on deal-chasing ethics, which is a good thing. Case in point:
BOSTON — A couple from Georgia is facing charges in connection with a scheme to defraud Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples, Inc. of more than $1.4 million.
Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz says 46-year-old John Douglas is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. His wife, 41-year-old Analyn Douglass, is charged with conspiracy to ship stolen goods in interstate commerce. It’s unclear whether they have lawyers.
Investigators say Douglas and a co-conspirator created more than 1,100 Staples rewards accounts, often using fictitious information. Douglas used a computer script to query a Staples website and seek unclaimed customer loyalty rewards for purchases he didn’t make.
Investigators say they used the rewards to buy merchandise at Staples retail locations throughout United States and that Analyn Douglass sold much of the merchandise on eBay.
Looking at this now, I wonder if it’s this guy. The full story is at the link and it’s long enough that I don’t want to repost the whole thing, but check this out:
In my free time over the next several weeks, I did what I could to decipher the intricacies of the ink rewards program, from an internal systems level. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the online reward program sign-up form required absolutely no verification of account information, including email addresses. This was key.
One Craigslist post and a $200 money order later, I was in possession of a custom Ruby script capable of creating dozens of fake customer reward accounts each minute, outputting the account login information to a spreadsheet (required for printing the rewards cards and store credit codes).
The next week, I was on the phone with a semi-truck driver telling me to meet him at the loading dock behind a Walmart. For $1,000 including freight shipping, I had became the owner of 10,000 used ink cartridges. Eighteen soggy, ink-stained boxes weighing over 50lbs each, taking multiple trips to load into a borrowed full-size SUV.
I couldn’t give an exact amount how much I made overall, but I was able to pay off my student loans and live very comfortably for a couple years afterwards. Everyone close to me still thinks I’m insane for pulling it all off as long as I did without any real repercussions. I’ve done even worse since, but that’s another story I’ll never tell. I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve never gotten into any legal trouble.
What do you think: same guy, or have a lot of people done this? And is he guilty or innocent?