Former Amazon Warehouse Manager Sentenced To 16 Years In $9.4 Mln Theft Scheme

Kayricka Wortham, a former operations manager at an Amazon warehouse in Georgia, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta. Wortham, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme that involved six other individuals, according to court documents. Prosecutors revealed that Wortham used her position to orchestrate a plot that resulted in the theft of $9.4 million from the company. She used the stolen funds to purchase a nearly $1 million home nearby and luxury cars, including a Tesla and a Lamborghini.

In addition to the prison sentence, Wortham has been ordered to pay restitution of over $9.4 million to Amazon. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia stated that Wortham’s prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release. The authorities have seized the home bought with the stolen money, along with several luxury vehicles.

Ryan Buchanan, a federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Georgia, described Wortham’s actions as an abuse of trust, stating that she took advantage of her position at Amazon to commit theft. Wortham chose to represent herself in court, while Nick Lotito, a lawyer who served as standby counsel, expressed his belief that the sentence was excessive.

Wortham worked as an operations manager at an Amazon warehouse in Smyrna, Georgia, from August 2020 to March 2022. The fraudulent scheme began in January 2022 when Wortham instructed her subordinates to enter false vendor information into the Amazon system. She would then approve the fake vendors and, along with her co-conspirators, submit false invoices to Amazon. The money would be transferred to bank accounts controlled by Wortham and her associates.

Brittany Hudson, who owned a business contracted by Amazon for package delivery and was in a relationship with Wortham, played a role in the scheme. Prosecutors alleged that Hudson assisted Wortham in submitting fake invoices worth millions of dollars to Amazon. Together, they used the stolen funds to purchase a luxury home, a Lamborghini, a Tesla, a Porsche Panamera, a Kawasaki motorcycle, and a Dodge Durango SUV. Expensive jewelry was also acquired using the stolen money.

Even after Wortham left Amazon in March 2022, the scheme continued. In January, while out on bond, Wortham and Hudson attempted to open a hookah lounge with the assistance of a franchising company. When the company inquired about the charges related to the Amazon case, Wortham and Hudson forged court documents to indicate that the charges had been dismissed. Their bonds were subsequently revoked after the authorities discovered the forgery.

Hudson was indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering charges in connection with the Amazon case. She and Wortham were also charged with forgery regarding the false claim of dismissed charges. The lawyers for Hudson and the other co-conspirators did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Demetrius Hines, who worked in loss prevention for Amazon, and Laquettia Blanchard, a human resources assistant at the company, assisted Wortham in the theft scheme. Hines provided Wortham with names and Social Security numbers used to create phony vendor accounts, while Blanchard and another individual, JaQuan Frazier, were involved in purchasing stolen personal information. Hines, Blanchard, and Frazier have all pleaded guilty to various charges and await sentencing.

Two additional individuals have been charged in connection with the theft scheme, and their cases are still pending. It remains unclear if they have legal representation.

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