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Sat May 28 2022 13:34:38

Warning: Do Not Get Creative with Amazon Receipts!

By: Ina Steiner

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An ecommerce consultant who allegedly advised a client to "be creative" with receipts submitted to Amazon to prove supplier relationships was indicted by a New York grand jury along with the seller - and 39 others. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled the indictment on Thursday at a press conference announcing they had taken down a "massive retail theft and crime operation."

According to the press release from the AG's office: 

"As outlined in the indictment unsealed today, 41 people were charged for their roles in this crime ring that stole luxury clothing and goods and thousands of items from drug stores that were then resold on eBay. 

"During the three-year joint investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General's (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the NYPD's Grand Larceny Division, law enforcement seized more than $3.8 million worth of stolen retail items from the enterprise's alleged boss, Roni Rubinov, more than 550 stolen gift and cash cards, and more than $300,000 in cash. 

"The defendants are being charged with various counts of enterprise corruption, money laundering, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud and conspiracy."

The indictment charged Rubinov with contracting remote web designer and ecommerce consultant Charles Harman, who at the direction of Rubinov, allegedly did the following:

1) maintained RUBINOV's Treasure Deals USA eBay Store; 

2) updated and created websites for the Criminal Enterprise; 

3) increased RUBINOV's online visibility through Google metrics; 

4) tried to expand RUBINOV's sales platform to Amazon and Shopify; and 

5) trained ANA, CAROLINE, LUDI, AKASYA and other employees on how to increase their productivity and grow RUBINOV's profit margin on RUBINOV's eBay and other eCommerce sites.

The indictment alleges the following:

"On September 18, 2019, CHARLES HARMAN engaged in a phone conversation with RONI RUBINOV whereby he stated, in sum and substance, "Hey just so you know I had a good meeting with Ana this morning we did a screen share on Amazon. So, she'll be probably reaching out to you about how we get our products listed because they all require authorization. Facial creams, Starbucks, everyone we tried. So, you're going to have to be creative figure out how to show a receipt.""

We reached out to defendant Harman through what we believe is his website and LinkedIn profile and have not received a response.

Online sellers may be familiar with Amazon's category-gating practices, including requirements that sellers provide receipts from suppliers for certain types of products. Here's a video from Amazon Seller University explaining the process:

eBay has not traditionally had as strict requirements, according to reports from sellers. But in recent months, we've heard from two sellers who reported eBay required them to submit receipts for their inventory.

The case is a warning to sellers to know the source of their inventory and keep good records. It also serves as a warning to consultants to ensure their clients are not engaging in criminal activity and to be very, very careful about the advice they offer. Likewise, sellers should be cautious regarding advice offered by consultants.

You can read more about the case in today's EcommerceBytes Newsflash article.

Comments (2) | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Warning: Do Not Get Creative with Amazon Receipts!   Warning: Do Not Get Creative with Amazon Receipts!

by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 30 12:23:14 2022

Wow, three years to bust them?  That criminal gang had many tentacles and I hope they all get the punishment they deserve.

Their theft affects everyone as stores raise prices to cover losses and causes ecommerce sellers to be viewed as suspicious regardless of how honest and aboveboard they are.  

Kudos to New York law enforcement for a job well done!

Perminate Link for Warning: Do Not Get Creative with Amazon Receipts!   Warning: Do Not Get Creative with Amazon Receipts!

by: Denny This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 30 13:42:33 2022

No need to watch the video any further. Looks like Amazon has a plan to steal sellers' sources then eventually replace them. I wouldn't give Amazon the time of day. They can't even hire people to answer product questions about what is sold or allow sellers to answer questions. What Amazon worried sellers will do the same things you do to your sellers?? Then to top it off people allow Amazon spy devices into their homes?? Unbelievable!!!!

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