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Former Smyrna Amazon warehouse manager sentenced to 16 years in $10 million fraud case


After defrauding e-commerce giant Amazon of nearly $10 million, a former warehouse manager Kayricka Wortham, was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison.

Wortham entered a guilty plea to fraud charges in November. Federal officials recently announced the sentence, saying that Wortham, 32, stole more $9.4 million from Amazon while employed as a manager for the company at their Smyrna warehouse. Wortham now joins six other co-conspirators who have been charged in connection with the scheme.

In a crime with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, U.S. Attorney Buchanan described various layers of the scheme to defraud Amazon. 

Wortham was employed as an operations manager at the Amazon warehouse in Smyrna from about August 2020 to March 2022. As a manager, she abused her position by submitting fictitious invoices for fake vendors to the tune of over $10 million. These fake invoices caused the company to pay roughly $9.4 million to Wortham and her co-conspirators.

Buchanan said Wortham was the leader of the scheme. She worked in a role which required her to supervise others and also authorized her to approve new vendors and the payment of vendor invoices for Amazon. 

Wortham used her position of trust within Amazon to provide fake vendor information to unknowing subordinates and ask them to input the information into Amazon’s vendor system. 

Once the information was entered, Wortham approved the fake vendors, enabling them to submit invoices. Wortham and co-conspirators then allegedly submitted fictitious invoices to Amazon, falsely representing that the vendors had provided goods and services to Amazon. 

Wortham approved the invoices, causing Amazon to transfer millions in fraudulent proceeds to bank accounts controlled by her and her co-conspirators. 

Said Buchanan, “The defendant abused her position of trust at Amazon to steal nearly $10 million from the company based on a brazen fraud scheme involving fake vendors and fictitious invoices. She then committed new crimes while on bond, even creating a fake dismissal document purporting to be from the court and that included the forged signature of the Chief U.S. District Judge, all for the purpose of misleading a franchising company about the status of her criminal charges. Her prison sentence recognizes the magnitude of her fraud and serves to protect the integrity of our courts and justice system.”

Others involved in the scheme included Brittany Hudson, 37. Buchanan’s office said Hudson was in a relationship with Wortham. Hudson owned a business, Legend Express LLC, that contracted with Amazon to deliver packages to customers. Buchanan said Hudson allegedly worked with Wortham to submit the fictitious invoices for fake vendors to Amazon. The couple bought expensive real estate and cars, including a nearly $1 million home in Smyrna, a Lamborghini, a Dodge Durango, a Tesla Model X, a 2018 Porsche Panamera, and a Kawasaki motorcycle, all with money acquired through the fraud scheme. 

Wortham recruited others to the scheme. Co-conspirators Demetrius Hines, who worked in loss prevention, and Laquettia Blanchard, a human resources assistant, were both recruited by Wortham. To create more fake vendor accounts, the two provided Wortham with names and social security numbers. 

Hines later recruited Jamar James, Sr., another Amazon operations manager at their Duluth warehouse to the scheme. James, Sr. allegedly approved fake vendors and fictitious invoices, even after Wortham left Amazon in March 2022.

Buchanan said that while on bond, Wortham and Hudson engaged in new criminal conduct that resulted in their bonds being revoked. In January 2023, they were working with CRU Franchising Company to open a hookah lounge in Midtown Atlanta. 

CRU discovered the Amazon fraud charges against them as the deal was close to completion and asked them about it. Wortham and Hudson allegedly lied to CRU, claiming that their Amazon criminal charges were dismissed, and reportedly emailed fraudulent court documents to CRU that purported to show dismissal of the charges and contained forged signatures of Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. and forged seals and signatures of the clerk of the court. 

Hudson also allegedly emailed CRU doctored bank statements and personal financial statements that fraudulently inflated the balances in her accounts to support the franchise deal. 

Wortham and Hudson have also been indicted for defrauding CRU and forging the signature of a federal judge and seal of the court. Those charges remain pending.

Hudson and James were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 20 for conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. Hines pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy on November 30. On June 27, Laquettia Blanchard pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., handed down Wortham’s sentence, which includes three years of supervised release after her prison term along with paying restitution to Amazon in the amount of $9.4 million. More than $2.7 million in fraudulent proceeds were seized from multiple bank accounts. The residence in Smyrna and the vehicles purchased with fraudulent proceeds were also forfeited.


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