Rohit Kadimisetty sentenced in Amazon bribery scheme

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The logo of Amazon is pictured inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa//File Photo

Rohit Kadimisetty, the first of six consultants indicted in September 2020, for a fraud and bribery scheme targeting Amazon.com and its online Marketplace, was sentenced Feb. 11, 2022, to 10 months in prison and a fine of $50,000.

Kadimisetty, 28, of Northridge, California pleaded guilty to conspiracy in September 2021.

“You do not have a license to steal from Amazon, …you were involved in illegal conduct…. This could be called modern day organized crime,” U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones is quoted saying at the sentencing hearing, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

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“Mr. Kadimisetty used his knowledge and contacts from prior employment at Amazon, to enrich himself by manipulating listings on Amazon Marketplace,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.  “He was a critical cog in the bribery wheel: paying contacts in India to reinstate suspended accounts, steal confidential information and attack competitors who got in the way of those funding the bribery scheme.”

According to records in the case, since at least 2017, Kadimisetty and the other defendants were alleged to have used bribery and fraud to elevate and benefit certain merchants on the Amazon Marketplace.  Kadimisetty and the other defendants served as so-called consultants to third-party (“3P”) sellers who sold household goods, consumer electronics, and dietary supplements on Amazon Marketplace, the multi-billion-dollar electronic commerce platform.

Following his employment at Amazon, and after relocating to the United States, Kadimisetty used his inside knowledge to recruit employees in India to misuse their employee privileges and access to internal information, systems, and tools, authorities said. He connected employees in India with other consultants and 3P sellers across the United States.

“Kadimisetty acted as a middleman of sorts, assigning tasks on behalf of 3P sellers and negotiating and arranging bribe payments on behalf of corrupted Amazon insiders.  To hide his criminal conduct, Kadimisetty used deceptive email accounts, encrypted messaging services, and bribes through third parties,” the press release said.

In his plea agreement, Kadimisetty admits being responsible for $100,000 in bribes paid to Amazon insiders during his active involvement in the enterprise. Kadimisetty left the conspiracy in late-2018, after a number of his contacts in India were fired by Amazon due to the misconduct. Another Indian defendant out of the five others indicted, Nishad Kunju, of Hyderabad, India, has not been arraigned on the indictment.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS:CI), and the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.

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