New Delhi: A 21-year-old who bought over 166 expensive mobile phones from online store Amazon in Delhi and got refunds running into lakhs of rupees after claiming that he had received an empty box has been arrested, the police said.
The police said Shivam Chopra, 21, had made nearly Rs 50 lakh between April and May this year before Amazon realized that they were being conned and complained to the police.
Shivam Chopra had done a course in hotel management from an institute in north Delhi's Rohini and had tried his hand at some jobs. But he wasn't good at keeping them and had ended up without a job. In March this year, he came up with this idea and ordered two phones as a test case. He asked for a refund, and got it.
For the next two months, he made a business out of it, ordering Apple, Samsung and OnePlus mobile phones.
He would sell the phones either on another online marketplace OLX or Gaffar market, a west Delhi market for mobiles and other imported goods that was counted by the US Trade Representative as one of the world's "notorious markets" in global piracy in 2014.
Sachin Jain, 38, a small telecom store owner near his house who had supplied more than a 141 pre-activated SIM cards to Shivam Chopra to let him place the orders in different names, has also been arrested. He would charge Rs 150 for each number.
A resident of Tri Nagar in north-west Delhi, Shivam Chopra used these phone numbers to place orders and would give an incorrect address in the locality. When Amazon's delivery associate could not locate the house, he would invariably call on the registered phone number of the account that he was using.
He would then guide him to somewhere close to his current address in the locality, take the delivery. Later, he would call up to complain that the box was empty and get a refund.
"This was repeated for all 166 orders that were placed by the perpetrator," senior police officer Milind Mahadeo Dumbere said.
19 mobile phones, 12 lakhs in cash and 40 bank passbooks and cheques have been seized from the home of the graduate from a north Delhi institute for hotel management. Apart from the money in the bank, he had also kept Rs 10 lakh with someone for safekeeping.
The north-west district police chief said the police were able to locate the young man this month after months of investigation during which they narrowed down the locality where he probably lived.
Last year, the Hyderabad police had arrested two persons who would tactfully open the seal of the packet while the delivery associate was waiting for payment at their doorsteps, replace the item with sand and reject the item to online retailers such as Amazon and Flipkart. There have been other cases where customers have allegedly replaced the items ordered with similar products of poor quality.