Atlanta

Ex-Georgia Amazon employees plead guilty to ‘staggering’ fraud to buy luxury cars, high end jewelry

ATLANTA — Two former Amazon employees have pleaded guilty to defrauding Amazon of nearly $10 million.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said Kayricka Wortham, 31 of Atlanta, and Demetrius Hines, 35 of Smyrna, used their positions at the company to submit fake invoices for fake vendors, causing Amazon to pay approximately $9.4 million to the pair and their co-conspirators.

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From August 2020 to March 2022, Wortham worked as an operations manager at Amazon’s warehouse in Smyrna. She supervised others and approved new vendors and the payment of vendor invoices.

Hines was a loss prevention multi-site lead at the Smyrna warehouse and at other company sites. Prosecutors said he was responsible for preventing loss, monitoring security risks, and protecting people, products and information at Amazon.

Wortham was the leader of the scheme, according to the U.S District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said she provided fake vendor information to unknowing subordinates and asked them to input the information into Amazon’s vendor system. Once the information was entered, Wortham approved the fake vendors.

Wortham and her co-conspirators then submitted fake invoices for payment that said those vendors had provided goods and services to Amazon. Prosecutors said the payments for these invoices, typically approved by Wortham, went to bank accounts controlled by Wortham and her co-conspirators.

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“The defendants abused their trusted positions to steal nearly $10 million from the company over the course of just a few months,” said Buchanan. “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.”

Officials say Wortham recruited other people to act as contacts for the fake vendors entered into Amazon’s system.

She recruited Hines into the scheme and asked him to supply individuals’ information that could be used as fake vendor contacts.

In total, Wortham and her co-conspirators received about $9.4 million from the scheme, according to the release. Officials say they used the proceeds to purchase real estate, luxury cars, and expensive jewelry.

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Wortham will have to forfeit than $2.7 million in fraudulent proceeds seized from multiple bank accounts, a $900,000 home in Smyrna, a 2019 Lamborghini Urus, a 2021 Dodge Durango, a 2022 Tesla Model X, a 2018 Porsche Panamera, and a Kawasaki ZX636 motorcycle.

Hines will forfeit more than $600,000 in fraudulent proceeds seized from multiple bank accounts and a 2022 Suzuki motorcycle, a 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby, a 2021 Ford F-150 Black Widow, a Rolex watch, a diamond bracelet and a diamond necklace.

Officials said all of these were purchased with fraudulent proceeds. Wortham and Hines pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Brittany Hudson, 37, of Atlanta, has also been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the release, Hudson was in a relationship with Wortham and owned a business, Legend Express LLC, which contracted with Amazon to deliver packages to customers.

Hudson allegedly conspired with Wortham to submit fake invoices for fake vendors. Her case is pending, according to the U.S District Attorney’s Office.

Wortham and Hines are expected to be sentenced in March 2023.

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