Chief United States District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou handed down a sentence of sixteen years in prison to 37-year-old Geoffrey Mark Hays Talsma of Portage, Michigan. The sentencing was for a drug trafficking crime. Mail fraud and more serious forms of identity theft are included in the allegations. In addition, the court has ordered Talsma to provide compensation to Amazon in the amount of more than $3 million. The costly judgment is the direct consequence of a book fraud that was perpetrated by Talsma, who took advantage of an Amazon program that was designed to assist college students in reducing the amount of money they spent on textbooks.
After creating many Amazon and email accounts, which he utilized to rent textbooks, Talsma began renting textbooks in January of 2016 and continued until March of 2021. Instead of returning the textbooks as he was required to do, he began selling them over the internet and even brought some of them to a bookshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Talsma also defrauded other individuals in the course of his book scheme by utilizing some of those people’s addresses to send the books to and impersonating other persons in order to assert that he had not gotten the books that he had bought. Because he notified Amazon that the books were gone, the online retailer rewarded him with credit that he could put toward the rental of further textbooks.
The three individuals who he recruited, Lovedeep Dhanoa, age 25, Paul Larson, age 32, and Gregory Gleesing, age 44, have all been convicted, but to somewhat shorter terms of imprisonment. The remaining three males were each sentenced to a corresponding period of 15 months, 6 months, and 3 years of probation with 4 months of home detention.
Both the United States Postal Inspection Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kalamazoo, Michigan, conducted their own independent investigations into the circumstances surrounding this case.