Six people have been indicted on allegations of a scheme whereby they bribed Amazon contractors and sellers to boost third-party sellers on the platform’s marketplace.
The six charged, who are named in the indictment, have been charged with “conspiracy to use a communication facility to commit commercial bribery, conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.” The court case will take place on October 15 in Seattle.
The Department of Justice said those convicted had conspired to pay £100,000 in bribes to at least 10 workers, reports the Financial Times. According to the indictment, the third-part sellers involved made over $100 million since July 2017.
Speaking to the paper, Amazon said:
Amazon has systems in place to detect suspicious behaviour by sellers or employees, and teams in place to investigate and stop prohibited activity. We are especially disappointed by the actions of this limited group of now-former employees, and appreciate the collaboration and support from law enforcement to bring them and the bad actors they were entwined with to justice. There is no place for fraud at Amazon and we will continue to pursue all measures to protect our store and hold bad actors accountable.
U.S. Attorney, Brain T. Moran said, “As the world moves increasingly to online commerce, we must ensure that the marketplace is not corrupted with unfair advantages obtained by bribes and kickbacks.
“The ultimate victim from this criminal conduct is the buying public who get inferior or even dangerous goods that should have been removed from the marketplace.
“I commend the investigators and cybersecurity experts who have worked to identify and indict those engaged in these illegal schemes.”
Earlier this month, the Financial Times found evidence of widespread fraud on the platform, leading Amazon to remove some 20,000 fake reviews, some of which were made by its top 10 reviewers.