Our firm was recently retained to represent Hadis Nuhanovic, a businessman from Acworth GA, in a case involving allegations of paying bribes to Amazon employees.
Jess Johnson of our firm is the lead lawyer in the case ,and he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about our defense. Jess expressed his concern about a rush to judgment in the case and that he is concerned that the allegations are not “fair or accurate.”
In this case, the government claims or client’s actions were designed to gain unfair competitive advantage on the Amazon Marketplace. The charges in this case include conspiracy to use a communication facility to commit commercial bribery, conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.
Specially, the government alleges the bribes were used to achieve four goals on behalf of defendant’s clients including 1) reinstating suspended accounts and product listings, including products removed due to consumer safety concerns or for manipulating product reviews, 2) attacking competitors by posting fake negative reviews or suspending their accounts, 3) misappropriating confidential business information about Amazon’s search engine to help their client’s accounts or hurt competitor accounts, and 4) bypassing Amazon policies that put limits on third-party accounts by finding ways to increase storage in Amazon warehouses, sell products in restricted categories like hazardous, oversized or long-term inventory, and get inside knowledge on how to gain favorable listings.
The government asserts that the defendants worked together to conceal communications through use of popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, Signal, and Telegram. They allege standard business transactions platforms like bank wires, personal or cashier checks, and online payments services like PayPal, Xoom, Transfast, and MoneyGram were used to route and receive bribes. Amazon employees supposedly performed transactions that hid identities through use of alias accounts, manipulated product listing reviews, entered false notes to reinstate accounts, and erased shipping information so third-party clients could be reimbursed for inventory Amazon thought was lost in transit.
We look forward to obtaining all the discovery material from the Government and completing our own investigation into the case.