Portage man pleads guilty to stealing $1.5 million from Amazon


Of all the things you can steal from Amazon, you choose textbooks. Did you know that Amazon rents out real books? Then you choose to steal textbooks for a number of years and you don’t think you’re going to get caught. That’s what three men from Portage and one from Kalamazoo Michigan thought and decided to do.

MLive is reports that the fourth man pleaded guilty in the case of textbook fraud. His name is Geoffrey Mark Talsma and he pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated impersonation in US District Court for the Western District of Michigan. He joined fellow flight attendants Paul Larson, of Kalamazoo; Gregory Gleesing, of Portage; and Lovedeep Singh Dhanoa of Portage, all of whom pleaded guilty in January to mail fraud.

How did they do it? They rented the textbooks and then sold them to bookstores as well as online, at least they followed Amazon’s online model. They committed this theft from January 2016 to March 2021 and earned over $1.5 million during those years. They paid people to accept rented school books so they wouldn’t have too many books arriving at their addresses. They would also create a number of Amazon accounts with false names and addresses, hence the guilty plea for identity theft.

How long did they all get; will we know in the months to come?

You may wonder if there are a lot of people reading paper books these days, I thought until I realized they were textbooks. I was then surprised to find that Pew Research did a survey and found:

Some 33% of Americans read in these digital formats and also read print books, while 32% say they only read print books. Only 9% of Americans say they only read digital books and have not read any print books in the past 12 months.

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