A Salem man sentenced to five years in federal prison for a scheme in which he'd go around Home Depot stores collecting stuff in a shopping cart then "returning" them at the returns desk was charged today with pulling the same stunt several times earlier this year.
The US Attorney's office in Boston reports Robert Dooley, 56, took advantage of Home Depot's policy of allowing returns without a receipt on several trips to Home Depot stores in January and February of this year:
On each occasion, Dooley, entered Home Depot stores empty handed and gathered merchandise totaling $500 to $900. At the returns desk, Dooley falsely claimed that he previously purchased the items, but did not have a receipt. When he provided this driver’s license number to the clerk, Dooley often varied the number so the “return” would not immediately be detected as fraudulent. Dooley was then issued a Home Depot card for the fraudulent return. According to the complaint, Dooley perpetrated the scam over forty times at Home Depots stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine, racking up over $35,000 in fraudulent returns.
Dooley was convicted in 2007 of doing the same thing in 2004 and 2005. A key difference: At the time, he worked for the IRS and would show his IRS ID, which he typically wore around his neck, at the returns desk to help prove he was legit.
If convicted again, he could face up to 20 years in prison.