West Roxbury woman sentenced over luxury goods sales and return scheme

Crime

The woman was buying luxury goods, sending them fake versions, then selling the real items online.

A West Roxbury woman was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years on probation on Tuesday for wire fraud in association with a scheme in which she bought luxury goods, returned counterfeit items to the store and then sold the real ones online versions.

Tamara Khatuntseva, 64, was also ordered to pay $85,499 in restitution and lost $83,806. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud in August 2021.

In December 2018, law enforcement opened an investigation into several people suspected of defrauding luxury goods stores across the state, according to a statement from the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office.

From December 2018 to August 2020, officials said, Khatuntseva defrauded a store by refunding fake merchandise, including expensive jewelry, clothing, handbags, luggage and shoes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Khatuntseva would purchase high-end retail products from the store and return counterfeit products to them for a full refund. She would then sell the legitimate merchandise on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For example, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said CCTV footage showed Khantuntseva buying a pink Gucci scarf for $399, which was later listed for sale on an eBay account associated with her. Several days later, a video showed her returning a different scarf with the same barcode and receiving a full refund.

Khatuntseva used two different eBay accounts, opened credit cards in her daughter’s name and purchased the same red security tags used by the store to disguise fraudulent returns as legitimate merchandise, the US attorney’s office said.

On August 27, 2020, a search of Khatuntseva’s home uncovered 42 items that she planned to sell on eBay or fraudulently return. Officials estimate that the victimized company lost between $40,000 and $150,000 as a result of his scheme.

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