A 23-year-old man has been arrested and charged with six counts of felony theft after processing over 1,000 fraudulent returns at Walmart stores across the country. Thomas Frudaker was apprehended by authorities on Wednesday and taken into custody. Frudaker reportedly defrauded the big box retailer of over $1 million in monetary losses.
According to FOX 13 News, employees at a Walmart in Yuma, Arizona, became suspicious when Frudaker attempted to return a computer that appeared to have parts missing. The Yuma Police Department launched an investigation and discovered that he had made similar fake returns over the country in the last 18 months.
Frudaker had purchased the computer from a Walmart in Yuma located at 2501 S. Avenue B and tried to return it at the Walmart located at 8151 E. 32nd Street. Authorities believed that Frudaker took the missing parts out of the computer himself. For his alleged crimes, Frudaker has been charged with two counts of fraudulent schemes, two counts of criminal damage, and two counts of theft, according to KYMA News.
Yuma Police Department spokeswoman Edith Ruiz confirmed that Frudaker had been running this scam for around a year and a half, according to AZ Central. He will likely face charges in other states where the man has returned deficient merchandise.
The refund policy for electronic merchandise ranges from 14 to 90 days depending upon the type of product. According to Walmart‘s website, computers must be returned within 15 days of purchase with an original receipt. Frudaker had reportedly returned a computer at another Walmart earlier that day. Authorities say that the young man’s pattern fits returns made at other Walmart locations.
The suspect was arrested and booked into the Yuma County Adult Detention Facility. He is being held on a $40,000 bond. The Yuma Police Department did not release details on the scam in their statements on Friday night. However, they were able to estimate the amount of loss to the retail giant. Frudaker’s scheme cost Walmart at least $1.3 million. Since the merchandise was missing parts, the company was unable to resell it at full price. Computer hardware was likely returned at a loss to the company.
A Facebook page bearing the same name lists Frudaker as a resident of Palm Bay, Florida, as well as the president and CEO of Powertech Computer Services. If he was using this scheme to secure parts for his business across multiple states, Frudaker could be facing interstate/federal charges.