West Roxbury woman sentenced for luxury goods return-and-sell scheme

The woman would buy luxury goods, return "inferior" versions, and then sell the real items online, according to officials.

A West Roxbury woman was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years of supervised release Tuesday for wire fraud in association with a scheme in which she bought luxury goods, returned “inferior” items to the store, and then sold the real items online, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts.


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

In a statement to on June 6, Khatuntseva’s lawyer said that Khatuntseva was running a “legitimate business” and denied that Khatuntseva was running a scheme.


In December 2018, law enforcement began an investigation into multiple people who they suspected of defrauding luxury goods stores across the state, according to the statement.

From December 2018 through August 2020, Khatuntseva defrauded a store through refunds of “inferior” merchandise, including expensive jewelry, clothing, purses, handbags, luggage, and shoes, according to the statement,

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Khatuntseva would buy high-end retail goods from the store and return the “inferior” goods in their place 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, video surveillance footage showed Khantuntseva buying a pink Gucci scarf for $399, which was then listed for sale on an eBay account associated with her. Several days later, a video showed her returning a different scarf with the same bar code 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 in order to disguise the fraudulent returns as legitimate merchandise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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


Heather Baer, Khatuntseva’s lawyer, sent the below statement to on June 6.

“Ms. Khatuntseva operated a legitimate, legal online e-commerce business, re-selling authentic luxury items…that she had purchased elsewhere at a lower price. If she was unable to sell an item, Ms. Khatuntseva would return it,” Baer said, claiming that “the vast majority of Ms. Khatuntseva’s returns were legitimate.” 

“For most of her illegal returns, Ms. Khatuntseva returned the item to the same store where she had bought it. But because the 30-day return-window had closed, she made the return on a sales slip for another item that she had bought within 30 days. On some occasions, she returned to the store in question authentic luxury items that she had bought from a designer outlet that did not take returns.”

“While Ms. Khatuntseva has admitted her guilt to the crime charged and accepted responsibility for her actions, the charge to which Ms. Khatuntseva pled guilty contains no allegation that the returned goods were ‘inferior,’ and the judge made no finding that the returned goods were inferior,” Baer said.

Notably, in the news release, the District Attorney’s Office described the returned items as “inferior” and “of lower value” than the original items.


Correction: has updated the description of the returned merchandise to “inferior,” rather than “fake.”


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