Two Americans have pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar scheme

Two Americans have pleaded guilty in a multi-million dollar project to manipulating Amazon’s Marketplace platform, where a former employee of Indian descent from the e-commerce giant was sentenced in February to 10 months in prison.

Amazon Marketplace is an e-commerce platform owned and operated by Seattle-based Amazon that enables third-party vendors to sell new or used products in a fixed-price online marketplace in addition to Amazon’s regular offers.

On February 11, Rohit Kadimisetti, of Indian descent in Northridge, California, was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of USD 50,000.

New York resident Joseph Nielsen, 32, and Kristen Lacey, 33, both New York residents, pleaded guilty Monday in Seattle U.S. District Court to various federal charges, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

According to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, Nielsen pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to violate travel laws and to file a false tax return while Lexis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate travel laws, according to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.

In all, three of the six defendants have now pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar scheme to manipulate the Amazon marketplace, the DoJ said.

According to the application agreement, Nielsen, Lessie and their associates conspired to bribe Amazon employees and contractors to abuse their access to the Amazon network and confidential information.

They sought various unfair competitive advantages for certain merchants in the Amazon Marketplace, among other things, by interfering with Amazon’s power to monitor the security and authenticity of the products sold and to undermine the accuracy of the information posted on the Marketplace, DoJ said.

Nielsen and Lacey admit they conspired to bribe: to get confidential Amazon business information; To restore suspended third party vendors and product listings in the marketplace; To avoid Amazon restrictions and limitations on certain products, it said.

They have also admitted to gaining access to limited product segments by misrepresenting the source of the product; To manipulate customer reviews; And to monitor and attack other merchants and product catalogs, the DoJ said.

Nielsen pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.

Conspiracy for violating travel laws is punishable by up to five years in prison. Wire forgery conspiracy sentenced to 20 years in prison. Filing a false tax return can result in up to three years in prison.

Kadimisetti was convicted in February of involvement in an international bribery scheme to steal confidential information and manipulate the e-commerce giant’s Marketplace platform.

An Indian-American of six consultants accused in September 2020 of a fraud and bribery scheme targeting the Seattle-based e-commerce giant and its online marketplace.

The two defendants, Ephraim Rosenberg of Brooklyn, New York, and Hadis Nuhanovich of Georgia’s Ackworth, are scheduled for trial in October 2022.

Another accused, Nishad Kunju of Indian descent in Hyderabad, was not charged.

The FBI is investigating the case with the help of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

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