Why failing to ship could land you with a fraud charge

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Here is how business used to work. A customer walks into your store. They drop goods in their basket and pass to checkout. You add up the contents, and they hand you money. They walk out with their goods. Transaction completed.

Here is how it often happens now. A customer clicks on your store. They drop goods in their basket and pass to checkout. The checkout adds up the contents, and the customer enters their card details. The portal takes their money and credits it to you. Your warehouse receives the order and ships the goods. Sometime later, the customer opens their door and receives their goods.

What happens if your company never ships goods that customers paid for?

Usually, when you do not ship something, the customer will ring up to complain. You apologize and get it sent to them. However, there may be circumstances that mean they will never get the item they have already paid for. Non-delivery of merchandise could count as fraud. Here are two examples:

  1. Your employer declares bankruptcy. They knew you would be unable to complete the orders customers were paying you for. Yet, they let you carry on selling.
  2. You sign up for an online affiliate scheme. You take money from the customer and pass it to the parent company. Yet, the parent company never intended to send the goods to you to pass to your customer. They created the scheme with the express intention of scamming customers.

When investigators work through the list of names associated with your company, they will come across yours. They might believe you knew more than you did and that you were complicit in defrauding your customers. You will need legal help to defend yourself. Fraud charges could lead to time in prison and a criminal record.