PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — A Portage man has been sentenced to serve 16 years in prison for defrauding Amazon out of around $3 million.
Geoffrey Mark Hays Talsma, 37, was sentenced to serve time in prison for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Michigan said in a Wednesday release. It said Talsma was also ordered to pay Amazon $3,227,347.82 in restitution.
Citing court documents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Talsma defrauded Amazon by getting rental textbooks and then selling the books instead of returning them. It said he created multiple Amazon accounts and had the books shipped to different addresses.
Talsma also used the names of other people when renting the books, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He would then call Amazon while pretending to be that person and would claim he did not receive the textbooks, which would get him credit from Amazon to get more textbooks.
Authorities say he also taught other people how to defraud Amazon and would share his profits with them.
“The fraud scheme caused losses to Amazon well in excess of $3,000,000.00,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the release.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said three other people have been sentenced in the mail fraud scheme. It said Lovedeep Singh Dhanoa, a 25-year-old from Portage, was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison; Paul Steven Larson, a 32-year-old from Kalamazoo, was sentenced to serve six months in prison; Gregory Mark Gleesing, a 44-year-old from Portage, was sentenced to three years of probation including four months of home detention.