A Florida college student has been charged with leading a retail shipping fraud scam that included nearly 10,000 phony returns and at least $3.5 million in lost product, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Matthew Frederic Bergwall, 21, was a University of Miami student when he allegedly ran the scheme that helped net him and others items such as a $41,000 Rolex President Day-Date watch, $600 electric skateboard, $350 Samsung Smart TV and $80 Reebok shoes, the DOJ said in a statement.
Bergwall, also known as “MXB,” orchestrated the crimes from December 2021 to April 2022, according to the DOJ, which said he ran a service that allowed online retail customers to enter bogus tracking information on packages.
If convicted on all counts, Bergwall could face up to 45 years behind bars, per the agency. An 11-page indictment also orders Bergwall to forfeit the entirety of his alleged ill-gotten gains.
Bergwall, who a University of Miami spokesperson said has not been a student since the spring of 2023, per NBC Miami, hacked into compromised employee accounts of a multinational shipping, receiving and supply chain management company that the agency did not name in its release.
Using these accounts, Bergwall and co-conspirators in Florida allegedly entered fraudulent tracking information for merchandise transported by the management company for retailers around the country.
Online shoppers using Bergwall’s service could then claim that packages never arrived and procure full refunds and keep items for free, authorities said.
“Bergwall offered this service for sale, which was marketed as ‘FTID’ (fraudulent tracking ID),” reads the indictment. “The FTID fraud scheme caused nearly 10,000 fraudulent returns and resulted in more than $3.5 million in lost product and sales revenue to the victim-retailers.”
Bergwall made his first court appearance in Miami last Thursday. It was unclear how he pleaded at press time, and the online docket does not list his attorney.