Man pleads guilty in $1.4 million scheme to defraud Staples

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 06:  A Staples store is seen on March 6, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Staples Inc. announced it plans on closing as many as 12 percent of its North American stores and cut as much as $500 million in costs.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
–Joe Raedle / Getty Images

BOSTON (AP) — A Georgia man faces prison after admitting to his role in a scheme to defraud Massachusetts-based Staples Inc. out of more than $1.4 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Layne Gosnell pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in January.

Investigators say Gosnell, a co-conspirator and others created more than 1,100 Staples rewards accounts, often using fictitious information. His co-conspirator used a computer script to query a Staples website and seek unclaimed customer loyalty rewards for purchases he didn’t make.

Prosecutors say the duo used the rewards to buy merchandise at Staples retail locations throughout the United States and sold much of the merchandise on eBay.

Staples is based in Framingham.

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