A well-known Amazon consultant admitted guilt on Thursday to bribing business representatives in a $100 million price-tag scheme to give online vendors a competitive edge.
Ephraim “Ed” Rosenberg was the last of the five defendants with U.S. addresses who were charged with bribing Amazon employees in exchange for secret company information that, among other things, helped them drive customers to some merchants and drive away rivals.
Already, two of the four others who entered guilty pleas received prison sentences. An Indian-born former Amazon employee who reportedly took bribes was accused but never brought to court.
With payments traveling across the world via MoneyGram, PayPal, and luggage filled with cash transferred by Uber, the plan, which started as early as 2017, appeared to have been lifted from a Hollywood script.
Rosenberg, 47, apologized for his activities in a LinkedIn post on Monday, contradicting past claims that he was innocent. His Facebook page, which has 10,000 followers and offers advice on selling on Amazon, is the most popular among the defendants. He also held networking events for Amazon sellers in his native New York City.
Federal agents accused Rosenberg and other consultants in 2020 of paying more than $100,000 in bribes to Amazon employees in India to give a few Amazon merchants an edge over rivals selling products ranging from electronics to nutritional supplements.
The indictment claims that a few defendants had items taken off the site due to safety concerns reinstated. An Amazon insider might remove unfavorable customer ratings of a company’s goods for a few hundred bucks, according to retailers. And $5,000 would get you a “takedown,” when business consultants planned to remove a rival from the website by purchasing their goods and submitting unfavorable reviews that they knew would result in a suspension.
Rosenberg might be sentenced to five years in jail and/or fined up to $250,000. His punishment will put an end to a humiliating chapter for Amazon that exposed the chaos going on behind the scenes at the well-known online retailer, where some 2 million merchants vie for a slice of the $746 billion in sales there each year.
Alexis Boutilier is from Vancouver, British Columbia. She has a high interest in all things tech and loves to stay engaged on all the latest appliances and accessories.