Man Behind $1.1M Home Depot Receipt Scam Gets Two-Year Prison Sentence

A Texas man who used Home Depot’s program for tax-exempt business purchases to scam more than $1.1 million from the retailer has been sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to repay all his ill-gotten gains.

According to a grand jury indictment [PDF], the scammer started ripping off Home Depot in 2012, when he began registering multiple companies through the Home Depot Tax Exempt ID program, which allows certain buyers to make purchases at the store without paying sales tax. However, the companies he registered either no longer existed or never existed in the first place.

As part of this process, he provided Home Depot with Texas taxpayer identification numbers for these bogus businesses, but again these state ID numbers were either fakes or expired.

He would then go to various Home Depot stores with receipts that he claimed were for purchases made by one of these non-existent businesses and get refunds on the sales tax that he contended should not have been paid. Prosecutors say he would go from store to store getting the same refund multiple times from the same receipt.

In other words, he would take receipts for items he didn’t buy, falsely claim that he should get a refund on the sales tax, rinse and repeat.

In all, this scam took in an estimated $1.12 million through at least 18 different Home Depot stores.

The scammer agreed to plead guilty [PDF] earlier this year, and yesterday the judge sentenced him to 24 months in federal prison, along with ordering him to pay $1,139,076 to Home Depot.

He now has until July 11 to report to the Bureau of Prisons to begin his sentence.

[h/t Dallas Morning News]

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