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Man is charged with cheating Home Depot stores out of $300,000 with door-return scam

KEYT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Connecticut man was given nearly $300,000 in fraudulent Home Depot credit by walking into stores in several states, taking expensive doors and then returning them without a receipt, federal prosecutors allege.

Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota, 26, of West Hartford, Connecticut, was detained without bail after a judge entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf this week in federal court in Rhode Island to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence said in a statement Wednesday.

An email seeking comment was left with Costa-Mota’s attorney.

Costa-Mota dressed to appear like a contractor and entered the stores empty-handed, prosecutors allege in court documents. He would then load a door or several doors worth hundreds of dollars each onto a lumber cart, take them to the service department and return them without a receipt, authorities said.

He was given a store credit that he later redeemed at other stores, prosecutors said.

If the return was denied, he would take the doors without paying and return them at another store, prosecutors said.

Home Depot stores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey were involved. The defendant was given about 370 fraudulent store credits between June 2021 and February 2022, prosecutors said.

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