Posted: 2020-09-19 18:57:23
$100,000 in bribes helped fraudulent Amazon sellers earn $100 million, DOJ says
From Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica
Originally published 2020-09-18
Six people were indicted on allegations of paying over $100,000 in bribes to Amazon employees and contractors as part of a scheme to give third-party sellers unfair advantages on the Amazon marketplace.
In exchange for bribes, Amazon workers "baselessly and fraudulently conferred tens of millions of dollars of competitive benefits upon hundreds of [third-party] seller accounts that the Defendants purported to represent," the indictment said. The DOJ said that workers "helped reinstate products and merchant accounts that Amazon had suspended or blocked entirely from doing business on the Amazon Marketplace" and that "the fraudulently reinstated products included dietary supplements that had been suspended because of customer-safety complaints, household electronics that had been flagged as flammable, consumer goods that had been flagged for intellectual-property violations, and other goods." These fraudulently reinstated seller accounts included ones Amazon had "suspended for manipulating product reviews to deceive consumers, making improper contact with consumers, and other violations of Amazon's seller policies and codes of conduct," the DOJ said.
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