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Feds allege CT man defrauded Home Depot for $300K with return scheme involving doors

File - Home Depot store in Hyattsville, Maryland, on February 22, 2022.
Stefani Reynolds
Getty Images
File - Home Depot store in Hyattsville, Maryland, on February 22, 2022.

A Connecticut man has been arraigned in federal court for an alleged scheme to use doors to collect fraudulent store credits.

Federal authorities say Alexandre Henrique Costa-Mota, 26, entered more than two dozen Home Depot stores in Connecticut and several other states dressed like a contractor. Prosecutors say he picked up doors, loaded them onto a cart and then brought them to the return desk for store credit.

Federal investigators allege Costa-Mota often used false identification when store employees asked to scan his driver’s license before issuing the non-receipted returns.

“Costa-Mota was provided with a store credit that he later redeemed at other stores, mainly located in Connecticut,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “At times, when the stores refused to accept the receiptless returns, Costa-Mota simply exited the stores with the Anderson doors without paying for them.”

He then returned the doors at other stores for store credit.

Prosecutors allege Costa-Mota, a West Hartford resident, received approximately 370 fraudulent store credits, valued at $297,332.

Investigators tracked Costa-Mota using cell phone records and video surveillance.

A federal grand jury in Providence, Rhode Island, returned an indictment on July 26, charging Costa-Mota with wire fraud and conspiracy. He was arraigned this week before a federal judge and ordered detained.

Costa-Mota is represented by a public defender who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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