An Australian man living in Madison who repeatedly defrauded an insurance company by making parcel insurance claims that netted him more than $350,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison and will likely be deported.
U.S. District Judge William Conley on Thursday said federal guidelines for aggravated identity theft, the charge to which Scott Reaston, 40, pleaded guilty, left him with no choice but to sentence Reaston to two years, an “appropriate if light” sentence.
When Reaston pleaded guilty to the charge in May, Conley hinted at the possibility of rejecting the plea agreement, but accepted it Thursday.
Reaston was arrested in January. A nine-count indictment at the time charged him with carrying out a scheme between 2013 and 2015 in which Reaston made phony parcel insurance claims for cellphones that he claimed he sold through Amazon Marketplace but were lost or damaged during shipments to customers.
The parcel insurance, issued by a firm in Missouri, was offered to customers of stamps.com.
Conley said he wasn’t confident that much of what he learned about Reaston was true, as much of it couldn’t be verified by investigators. He noted that Reaston has changed his name a few times over the years and lived in various places including Australia, England and the U.S.
To carry out the fraud scheme, Conley said, Reaston used the names of roommates and friends, people who had trusted him, to get insurance reimbursements for the claims.
“I wish to apologize for what I’ve done,” Reaston said. “I’m at a stage where I need to take responsibility.”
“I would say that it’s hard given the extent of the fraud you’ve committed to give much credence to that, but I hope this is a change for you,” Conley said.
Reaston was also ordered to repay $364,183 to Brown & Brown of Missouri, which offers the Parcel Insurance Plan that Reaston exploited.