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A Man Was Just Charged for Scamming Home Depot Out of $300,000 — And a Popular, Customer-Friendly Policy Made It Easy The scheme unfolded between June 2021 and June 2022 and spanned several stores in different states.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota received nearly $300,000 in Home Depot credit by returning doors he didn't buy.
  • He's been arraigned on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.
  • Home Depot doesn't require receipts for returns.

"You can do it. We can help." One Connecticut man had his own interpretation of Home Depot's well-intentioned tagline.

Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota, 26, of Hartford has been arraigned on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud after he scored nearly $300,000 in Home Depot credit with a fraudulent door-return scheme that spanned stores in several states, AP News reported.

Related: Man Accidentally Dyes Home Depot Logo on His Head, Goes Viral

Costa-Mota dressed as a contractor and walked in empty-handed, then put one door or several doors valued at hundreds of dollars onto a cart before heading to the service department and returning them without a receipt, prosecutors allege in court documents.

If Costa-Mota was denied a return at one store, he would take the doors without paying and return them to a different location; between June 2021 and June 2022, he racked up 370 fraudulent store credits worth $297,332, according to authorities.

Home Depot's return policy allowing customers to return purchases without a receipt helped Costa-Mota pull it off.

"We require a valid driver's license or government-issued photo identification for non-receipted returns and returns generated from purchases made with The Home Depot store credits," the company's website states. "The Home Depot uses a third-party refund verification system."

It appears Costa-Mota used his own ID just once before presenting multiple fraudulent licenses with other names, per court records.

Related: Woman Arrested for $60 Million USPS Counterfeit Postage Scam

Home Depot isn't the only big-box retailer with a generous return policy that puts customers first: Kohl's, J.C. Penney, and Walmart also accept purchases back without a receipt, according to NerdWallet.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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