A grand jury in the Western District of Washington has indicted six people in a multi-million dollar scheme to bribe Amazon employees and contractors to gain an unfair advantage on the Amazon marketplace, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to pay over $100,000 in bribes in order to benefit specific merchant accounts on the platform used by third-party sellers. The accounts gained more than $100 million in competitive benefits, according to the indictment, and caused harm to competitors and consumers.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran said.
Among the “illicit steps” described in the indictment, corrupted employees and contractors helped reinstate products and merchant accounts that Amazon had suspended or blocked entirely from doing