Four brothers in Rockland County were arrested after allegedly running a $19 million fraud scheme that targeted online retailing giant Amazon, sources told NBC New York.
The four men — Yoel Abraham, Heshl Abraham, Zishe Abraham and Shmuel Abraham — were picked up in various homes throughout the area as early as 6 a.m. Wednesday by federal investigators from Homeland Security, as well as the NYPD.
Law enforcement sources said that at one time, the alleged fraud ring was being run out of the basement of a home in Monsey. A woman at the home who identified herself as Mrs. Abraham confirmed the arrests of her sons Wednesday afternoon, before threatening to call police as NBC New York asked her about the allegations.
A federal complaint alleges that the four Abraham brothers opened vendor accounts and engaged in a scheme to defraud an online retailer, which sources identified to NBC New York as Amazon. The feds said the brothers manipulated invoice and billing procedures, using a practice called over-shipping.
The complaint says that in 2018, they agreed to ship a case of disinfectant spray for $94. Instead, they allegedly shipped 7,000 individual toothbrushes for $94 each. They billed Amazon $658,000 for that order.
Later that year, in July, a vendor bought one bottle of designer perfume for $290. Instead of sending that product, the crew allegedly shipped 927 units of a plastic beard trimming tool for $290 dollars each — coming to a total of almost $270,000.
According to the complaint, on or about May 1, 2018, Yoel Abraham said “I’m so in the mood to f--- (Amazon)," and asked, "did anyone try to over ship and make a million profit in a week?"
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
In response to the case and the arrests, Amazon said it was "grateful" to work with the law enforcement agencies "on their vigorous prosecution" of the brothers.
"While our proactive controls ensure the vast majority of sellers in our store are honest entrepreneurs, fraudsters attempt to violate our policies, victimize our customers, and damage our store, and we look forward to working with law enforcement agencies to hold these bad actors accountable for their illegal activities," the company said in a statement.