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Date: 07-05-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Kayricka Wortham

Case Number: 1:22-cr-00361

Judge: Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Fulton County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Atlanta

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Atlanta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with wire fraud.

“Kayricka Wortham 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,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “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.”

“The Secret Service takes cases of fraud extremely seriously,” said Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Atlanta Field Office Steven R. Baisel. “This individual stole millions from a business that employed her – exploiting not only their trust, but our nation’s financial systems. Thanks to the hard work of our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s office, her sentence reflects the seriousness of her crimes and sends a message that this kind of fraudulent activity will not be tolerated.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Kayricka Wortham abused her position at Amazon to submit more than $10 million in fictitious invoices for fake vendors, causing Amazon to pay approximately $9.4 million to Wortham and her co-conspirators.

From about August 2020 to March 2022, Wortham worked as an Operations Manager at the Amazon Warehouse in Smyrna, Georgia. In her position, Wortham supervised others and acted with the authority to approve both new vendors and the payment of vendor invoices for Amazon.

Wortham, who was the leader of the scheme, provided fake vendor information to unknowing subordinates and asked 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 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.

Wortham conspired with others, including Brittany Hudson, in the scheme. Hudson was in a relationship with Wortham and owned a business, Legend Express LLC, that contracted with Amazon to deliver packages to customers. Hudson allegedly worked with Wortham to submit millions in fictitious invoices for fake vendors to Amazon. Wortham and Hudson purchased expensive real estate and luxury cars, including a nearly $1 million home in Smyrna, Georgia, a 2019 Lamborghini Urus, a 2021 Dodge Durango, a 2022 Tesla Model X, a 2018 Porsche Panamera, and a Kawasaki ZX636 motorcycle, all with fraudulent proceeds from the scheme.

Wortham also recruited co-conspirators Demetrius Hines, who was in Loss Prevention at Amazon, and Laquettia Blanchard, who worked as a Senior Human Resources Assistant at the company. Hines and Blanchard provided names and Social Security numbers to Wortham to create additional fake vendor accounts. Blanchard provided names of relatives and associates. Hines provided stolen personal identifying information that he purchased from JaQuan Frazier, who in turn allegedly purchased the information from Darrel J. Burgo, also known as “Fleet.” Hines and Blanchard were paid in fraudulent proceeds. Hines also recruited Jamar L. James, Sr., another Operations Manager at Amazon’s location in Duluth, Georgia, into the scheme. Like Wortham, James allegedly approved fake vendors and fictitious invoices, including after Wortham left Amazon in March 2022.

While on bond, Wortham and Hudson committed new criminal conduct that resulted in the revocation of their bonds. In January 2023, they were working with CRU Franchising Company to open a hookah lounge in Midtown Atlanta. During the due diligence to close the deal, CRU discovered and asked about the Amazon fraud charges against them. In response, Wortham and Hudson allegedly lied to CRU, claiming that their Amazon-related criminal charges were dismissed. The two then 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 C. 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.

Kayricka Wortham, also known as “Kayricka Dupree” and “Kayricka Young,” 32, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., to 16 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to Amazon in the amount of $9,469,731.45. More than $2.7 million in fraudulent proceeds seized from multiple bank accounts, the residence in Smyrna, and the vehicles purchased with fraudulent proceeds were forfeited. Wortham was convicted of the Amazon fraud charges on November 30, 2022, after she pleaded guilty. She has been indicted for defrauding CRU and forging the signature of a federal judge and seal of the Court. Those charges remain pending.

On June 20, 2023, a federal grand jury indicted Brittany Hudson, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Jamar L. James, Sr., 47, of Calera, Alabama, for conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering, and Hudson for forging the signature of a federal judge and seal of the Court. Darrel J. Burgo, 32, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was charged in the same indictment with conspiracy, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. These charges are pending.

For their roles in the scheme, on November 30, 2022, Demetrius Hines pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy; on June 27, 2023, Laquettia Blanchard pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy; and on June 27, 2023, JaQuan Frazier pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. Judge Batten will sentence these three defendants at a later date.

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Norman L. Barnett are prosecuting the cases.

Outcome: 07/12/2023 65 ORDER denying 64 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction as to Kayricka Wortham (1). Signed by Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. on 7/12/2023. (dmb) (Entered: 07/12/2023)
07/12/2023 Clerk's Certificate of Mailing as to Kayricka Wortham re 65 Order on Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. (dmb) (Entered: 07/12/2023)
Defendant was sentenced to 16 years' in prison.

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