Aaron Hoster, an experienced conman, is facing federal charges for an audacious scheme to defraud Home Depot stores. The scheme, which began at the end of 2020 and ran for approximately 18 months, involved an unprecedented ticket-switching tactic.
Hoster would scrap the barcode from items that cost under $30 and then place it on more expensive items, such as power tools, worth up to $1,200. After transferring the barcode, Hoster would attempt to pay for the higher-valued tool using the code from the lower-priced item.
In one example, Hoster attempted to fraudulently purchase a Honda generator worth $1,299 with a price tag belonging to a generator adopter that was valued at just $37.50. It is alleged that he attempted this same tactic in a Home Depot store in Waterville, Maine, on March 13th. After store personnel noticed his suspicious behavior, Hoster fled the store, leaving the property behind.
This wouldn’t be Hoster’s first conviction of the same crime. Documents show he had already been convicted of ticket-switching in Maryland and Pennsylvania in November 2022. Federal authorities arrested him in Westminster, MD, after his initial convictions.
Now, Hoster is looking at a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud, and a possible fine of up to $250,000. Federal Judge Maurice J. Dumas ordered Hoster to be held without bail on Friday. It is estimated that Home Depot has lost thousands of dollars due to Hoster’s illegal activities.