On Friday, a federal jury said that a former Vice President of Netflix was guilty. He was charged with taking bribes, kickbacks and stock options from tech companies for approving contracts with the giant streaming platform Netflix. Michael Kail was in charge of the platform’s internet technology department.
In 2018, he was indicted on 29 counts —19 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering and three counts of mail fraud. He pleaded not guilty. A jury in San Jose, California, found him guilty on 28 of the 29 charges. His lawyer Julia Jayne said he was innocent. She also said that he was the person who helped drive the success of the platform. She also blamed Netflix for “driving the investigation and prosecution. She said that he would appeal the sentence.
The Department of Justice released a statement on Friday which said he used his kickback payments for personal expenses. He also used a family trust to buy a home in Los Gatos, California. It said that his home which is worth almost $3 million will be forfeited to the federal government, according to Mercury News.
The 49-year old executive founded a consultancy service called Unix Mercenary. He used it to funnel his ill-gotten kickbacks and bribes. His scheme also involved nine more companies, as per the prosecutor’s allegations in the court filings. The indictment reportedly said that his total take could have been approximately $690,000.
Prosecutors also said that he used his home address and a personal mail id to rout communications, to conceal his activities. He is said to have received these bribes and kickbacks from nine tech companies who wanted to work with Netflix. He took these bribes between February 2012 and July 2014. In 2014, he had a confrontation with Reed Hastings, the CEO on possible conflicts of interests and resigned shortly after the incident.