BOSTON (USDOJ) – A West Roxbury woman pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston in connection with a scheme involving inferior merchandise refunds.
Tamara Khatuntseva, 64, pleaded guilty to wire fraud before U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock who scheduled sentencing for Dec. 6, 2021. Khatuntseva was charged on July 20, 2021.
In December 2018, law enforcement initiated an investigation into multiple individuals who were suspected of engaging in activities to defraud runway stores across Massachusetts. From December 2018 through approximately August 2020, Khatuntseva engaged in a scheme to defraud a store through refunds of inferior merchandise including high end and expensive jewelry, clothing, purses, handbags, luggage and shoes. Specifically, Khatuntseva admitted to returning merchandise purportedly purchased from the store, but that was actually not purchased from the store and was of inferior quality, for a full refund and then selling the legitimate merchandise on the internet. For example, Khatuntseva was captured on video surveillance purchasing a pink Gucci scarf for $399, which was then listed for sale on an eBay site associated with Khatuntseva. Several days later, video surveillance showed Khatuntseva returning a different scarf – with the same bar code – and receiving a full refund. The company’s loss as a result of Khatuntseva participation in this scheme is estimated to be between $40,000 and $150,000.
The charge of wire fraud provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, forfeiture and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura J. Kaplan of Mendell’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.