BANGOR — A Madison man who stole more than $51,000 from retailers in what authorities called a “ticket switching” scam was sentenced Wednesday in federal court.

Aaron Hoster, 51, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Bangor to serve 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release, according to information released by the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Maine. He will also pay more than $57,000 in restitution.

Hoster pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and attempted wire fraud in September.

Hoster committed 160 thefts as part of the scam, in which he took price labels from low-cost items and put them on higher-priced items that he then purchased, according to court records. In one case, for example, authorities said Hoster paid $19.98 for a $439 cordless finish nailer kit by scanning a price code for trimmer line instead.

The scam lasted nearly two years, from June 2021 to April 2023.

Multiple Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Maine, as well as other stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania, were targeted by Hoster’s thefts, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

“The defendant had a full-time job of stealing for two years,” U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. said in a statement in sentencing Hoster. “You are causing the price of all goods to rise because people like you take what they haven’t paid for. There were plenty of times you could have stopped but didn’t because it was easy money.”

Hoster has 29 previous criminal convictions, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

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