Ex-Amazon employees at Smyrna warehouse plead guilty to stealing nearly $10M

2 workers bought homes, luxury cars, jewelry with money from fake invoices

Two former Amazon employees pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $10 million from the tech giant in a period of about 18 months, federal officials announced. The co-defendants have each been ordered to surrender millions of dollars worth of property, luxury vehicles and jewelry bought with their fraudulent proceeds.

Kayricka Wortham, 31, of Atlanta, and Demetrius Hines, 35, of Smyrna, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan said. Wortham and Hines are both set to be sentenced March 8.

“The defendants abused their trusted positions to steal nearly $10 million from the company over the course of just a few months,” Buchanan said. “This staggering fraud was fueled by pure greed, as evidenced by the high-end real estate, luxury cars and expensive jewelry that the defendants quickly accumulated with their fraudulent proceeds.”

According to Buchanan, Wortham worked for Amazon from August 2020 until March 2022 as an operations manager at the company’s Smyrna warehouse. Described by prosecutors as the leader of the scheme, Wortham held a supervisory role and had the authority to approve new vendors and pay vendor invoices.

Hines’ title was Loss Prevention Multi-Site Lead, and he also worked at Amazon’s Smyrna warehouse, though his role took him to other company sites, Buchanan said.

As part of the scheme, Wortham would direct her subordinates to unknowingly add new, fake vendors to Amazon’s system, which she would then approve, according to Buchanan. Once vendors were in the system, Wortham and Hines would submit fake invoices through Amazon’s system, which Wortham would also approve for payment. The payments would then be sent to accounts controlled by Wortham and Hines.

Wortham recruited others, including Hines, to act as contacts for the fake vendors. Hines would often supply information for different people who could be used as vendor contacts, Buchanan said.

Wortham and Hines used the money to fund lavish lifestyles, racking up a long list of major purchases in a relatively short period of time.

Wortham was ordered to return about $2.7 million in cash seized from different bank accounts, Buchanan said. She will also forfeit a Smyrna home purchased for $900,000 and a fleet of luxury cars, including a 2019 Lamborghini Urus SUV, a 2022 Tesla Model X and a 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Hines will be forced to return more than $600,000 in cash and forfeit a 2021 Ford F-150 Black Widow, a 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, a Rolex Day-Date watch and multiple diamond jewelry items.

A third case is pending against another co-defendant identified as 37-year-old Brittany Hudson, Buchanan said. Hudson allegedly had a relationship with Wortham and owned a business that contracted with Amazon to deliver packages, according to prosecutors. She is also accused of conspiring with Wortham to submit fictitious invoices for fake vendors.