**Connecticut Man Accused of Fraudulently Obtaining Home Depot Credit**
Federal prosecutors have alleged that a Connecticut man obtained nearly $300,000 in fraudulent Home Depot credit by engaging in a scheme across multiple states. Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota, a 26-year-old from West Hartford, Connecticut, has been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Costa-Mota appeared in federal court in Rhode Island, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
**The Alleged Scheme**
Court documents state that Costa-Mota disguised himself as a contractor and targeted Home Depot stores in various states. He would enter the stores without any merchandise, proceed to the lumber section, and load expensive doors onto a lumber cart. Costa-Mota would then take the doors to the service department and return them without presenting a receipt.
As a result of these fraudulent returns, Costa-Mota received store credit in the form of cards. He later redeemed these cards at other Home Depot locations. If a return was denied, he would simply leave the store with the doors and attempt to return them at a different location.
**Extent of the Scheme**
Prosecutors have claimed that Home Depot stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey were affected by the scheme. Costa-Mota allegedly obtained approximately 370 fraudulent store credits between June 2021 and February 2022.
**Home Depot’s Return Policy**
Home Depot has a policy that allows customers to return items without a receipt. However, the company has implemented safeguards to prevent abuse of this policy. These safeguards include requesting identification for non-receipted returns and returns made with store credits. Home Depot uses a third-party refund verification system, and all returns are subject to approval from this system.
**Manipulating the System**
In this case, Costa-Mota reportedly used his own driver’s license for one return but used fraudulent licenses with different names for subsequent returns. By using these false licenses, he was able to bypass Home Depot’s identification verification process.
**Home Depot’s Response**
Home Depot has not yet commented on the case. However, the company may need to reassess its return policy and identification verification process in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
Overall, the case against Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota demonstrates the impact of fraudulent activities on a large retail corporation like Home Depot. This incident serves as a reminder of the need for businesses to continuously monitor and update their policies to protect themselves against fraudulent schemes.