Amazon disclosed that a former employee has been arrested for committing fraud against the online retailer. The company says it reported Vu Anh Nguyen to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in July 2020 for falsely issuing refunds to himself and his associates for products ordered on Amazon.com. The U.S. Dept. of Justice on Friday brought charges against Nguyen for federal wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to court filings.
Nguyen was previously employed with Amazon as a Selling Support Associate based in Tempe, Arizona. In this role, his job involved providing support for Amazon’s third-party sellers and assisting in the creation and management of seller listings using a “Spoofer” account, which allow Amazon employees to view and edit third-party seller accounts.
From these accounts, employees are able to manually authorize refunds for items ordered from third-party sellers, which is how the abuse occurred.
In the criminal complaint, Nguyen is alleged to have committed wire fraud between November 2019 and February 2020 by using his employee access to falsely and fraudulently issue $96,508.13 in refunds to himself and others. These refunds were not requested by legitimate purchasers. During the course of this scheme, Nguyen used or caused the use of interstate wires, the filing states.
The scheme involved approximately 318 unauthorized refunds for orders purchased through eight Amazon accounts belonging to Nguyen and others. These included refunds for high-value items, like computers and electronics, none of which were ever returned to Amazon.
Amazon, in a press release issued today, notes that it has systems in place to mitigate misuse of its tools and to monitor and detect suspicious behavior. These systems had identified the suspicious refunds, prompting its investigation. Amazon then reported the case to the FBI.