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Amazon workers scam company out of $10 million in Smyrna, leader sentenced to 16 years, DOJ says

The department said they faked documents in order to pay themselves as vendors.
Credit: wxia

ATLANTA — Update: The scheme's leader, now a 32-year-old woman, was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and will have to pay over $9 million in restitution back to Amazon.


Two Amazon workers from their Smyrna warehouse have entered guilty pleas in a $10 million fraud case, and another employee is still awaiting trial, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Georgia. 

The department said that the scheme's leader was a 31-year-old woman from Atlanta who worked as an operations manager for the company. She was a supervisor and "acted with authority to approve new vendors and the payment of vendor invoices." The other employee was a 35-year-old man from Smyrna who worked as a loss prevention multi-site lead; he was "responsible for preventing loss, monitoring security risks, and protecting people, products, and information at Amazon."

According to court documents, the two worked together with a 37-year-old woman from Atlanta who owned a business to falsify documents to steal from the company. 

“These defendants attempted to hide their scheme in plain sight by using their unique roles within their company to conceal the actions from which they fraudulently benefitted," U.S. Secret Service Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Steven Baisel, said.

The operations manager would give fake vendor information "unknowingly" to her subordinates, asking them to input them into Amazon's system. She would then approve the fake vendors so that invoices could come through. 

After the fraudulent vendors were approved, she would ask the 35-year-old man from Smyrna to submit fictitious invoices for Amazon to pay. Once paid, the money would go "to bank accounts controlled by [the woman] and her co-conspirators."

DOJ said that the operations manager even recruited people to pretend to be vendor contacts so they could enter them into the company's system. The group was able to clear about $9.4 million from their scheme.

The court said they spent the money on themselves, buying cars, jewelry and homes. And as part of their sentencing, the operations manager and loss prevention lead must give some of those back. 

“The defendants abused their trusted positions to steal nearly $10 million from the company over the course of just a few months,” U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said. “This staggering fraud was fueled by pure greed, as evidenced by the high-end real estate, luxury cars, and expensive jewelry that the defendants quickly accumulated with their fraudulent proceeds.”

DOJ said the operations manager would forfeit:

  • Over $2.7 million in fraudulent proceeds seized from multiple bank accounts
  • A residence located in Smyrna that was purchased with over $900,000 in fraudulent proceeds
  • A 2019 Lamborghini Urus (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A2021 Dodge Durango (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A2022 Tesla Model X (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A 2018 Porsche Panamera (purchased with fraudulent proceeds)
  • A Kawasaki ZX636 motorcycle (purchased with fraudulent proceeds)

The loss prevention multi-site lead would forfeit: 

  • $600,000 in fraudulent proceeds seized from multiple bank accounts 
  • A 2022 Suzuki GSX1300 Motorcycle (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A 2021 Ford F-150 Black Widow (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A Rolex Day-Date watch (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A diamond bracelet (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 
  • A diamond necklace (purchased with fraudulent proceeds) 

“The defendants ultimately learned that the highly skilled investigators with the Secret Service are uniquely proficient in their work to uncover illicit financial schemes, regardless of attempts to evade law enforcement," Baisel said. "I am proud of the investigative team responsible for bringing these defendants before our justice system.”  

According to the DOJ, the third person, a 37-year-old woman from Atlanta who owned a business, is still awaiting trial but is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The operations manager and loss prevention multi-site lead will be sentenced on March 8, 2023. 


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