A 36-year-old man from Portage, Michigan, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly renting thousands of textbooks from Amazon and selling them rather than returning them.
Andrew Birge, US Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said Geoffrey Mark Hays Talsma has been indicted on charges of mail and wire fraud, transporting stolen property across state lines, aggravated identity theft, and lying to the FBI.
Also indicted were three alleged co-conspirators: Gregory Mark Gleesing, 43, and Lovedeep Singh Dhanoa, 25, both from Portage, Michigan, and Paul Steven Larson, 32, from Kalamazoo, Michigan
From January 2016 through March 2021, according to the indictment, Talsma rented textbooks from the Amazon Rental program in order to sell them for a profit. The indictment describes what occurred as “a sophisticated fraud scheme.”
Talsma allegedly disguised his identity by creating multiple customer accounts with different names, mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. He supposedly did so to bypass the 15 book limit Amazon placed on textbook rentals.
His alleged fraud scheme involved using Amazon gift cards to rent the textbooks and prepaid…