Portage man faces charges of fraud and theft from Amazon rental textbook program


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) — It was announced yesterday that a Portage man was arrested on a felony indictment for multiple charges, including mail fraud.

The indictment states that from January 2016 to March 2021, Geoffrey Mark Hays Talsma would rent thousands of textbooks from Amazon’s Rental Textbook Program, with no real intention returning or buying the textbooks.

The 36-year-old allegedly went on to sell the textbooks to local textbook businesses.

According to the indictment, the reason Talsma was never caught was because Talsma would create new Amazon accounts using variations of data.

In addition, Talsma would defraud Amazon by getting credit to his accounts, claiming that he either did not receive the textbooks or received items he couldn’t return.

Talsma faces charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, aggravated identity theft, and giving false statements to the FBI.

Other people named in the indictment were Gregory Mark Gleesing, 43 and Lovedeep Singh Dhanoa, 25, of Portage, as well as Paul Steven Larson, 32, of Kalamazoo.

If convicted, Talsma faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each fraud offense, a maximum sentence of 10 years for interstate transportation of stolen property and a maximum term of 5 years for falsifying statements to the FBI.

Additionally, if found guilty of the aggravated identity theft charges, Talsma will serve a maximum term of imprisonment for four years consecutive to any sentence imposed for the other criminal offenses.

Restitution and handing over certain assets obtained with the scheme’s profit may also be ordered if Talsma is convicted.

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