The world knows Amazon is an extraordinarily powerful company, but one family’s terrifying story demonstrates just how dark, dominant, and dishonorable the corporation truly is. Amy’s husband, Carl, was accused of a crime by Amazon — his former employer — in 2020. Even though Carl was never charged for that crime, Amazon still seized nearly ALL the funds Amy and Carl had spent years acquiring. Everything was taken directly from their bank accounts via civil asset forfeiture. But the dangers of Amazon go even further. In this clip, Amy joins Glenn to detail just how menacing the relationship between Amazon and our federal government — specifically the DOJ — truly is.
TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Amy Nelson is somebody who has experienced the collusion between big government and big business, pretty much like no one else that I know.
Amazon made claims that her husband did something illegal. Although, they were never told what -- what that charge was supposed to be.
They met with the Department of Justice over and over and over again. And tried to convince the Department of Justice, to charge him with a crime. They never did.
Yet, the Justice Department, came in and took every penny they had. Took their bank accounts. Went as far as I think taking his father or his father-in-law-'s bank account. Took all her bank accounts that were just in her name.
The family was left penniless. They decided to fight. It's not over yet.
Believe it or not. This began, while COVID was happening.
And it could happen to anyone.
So, you know, these -- all these victims, they're not necessarily you know MAGA people, or even Republicans. Amy, who I find delightful, was a bundler for Barack Obama.
So there wasn't a political reason. There was a reason, and the reason is, Amazon was trying to avoid 100 million-dollar judgment or penalty against them. On something else.
So they cooked the books. And tried to make -- at least, that's what it appears to be. That they cooked the books. And tried to make Amy's husband the scapegoat. Why spend 100 million, when you could destroy this guy for maybe ten? And you spend $90 million.
Amy Nelson. Do I have the story kind of accurate in a summary, Amy?
AMY: You really do. And it's remarkable, Glenn. Because it's a long story.
GLENN: So I so appreciate you coming on the program. And I appreciate the fact that you and your husband with four children, you had to sell anything that you were left with.
You had to sell the house.
Because you couldn't make the mortgage payments.
You didn't even know how you would feed your family. But you moved in with relatives, right?
AMY: We did. I mean, we early on -- you know look, I think when my husband was accused with a crime. It was totally shocking to us, we didn't know where this was coming from. Also, I was a lawyer. But I was a civil lawyer. I must know a lot about criminal law. So we were just in a position where we were trying to learn -- and we were just making decision after decision, to try to stay alive and be able to fight. I didn't even know civil forfeiture was a thing in America, to be honest.
I didn't know the government --
GLENN: Maybe you shouldn't have been bundling for Obama. Because we talked about it on my show.
AMY: Maybe I should have been listening to you.
GLENN: Maybe. I'm just saying.
AMY: Yeah, I know. It is -- it is -- you know it's definitely. I think this is really my own politics.
Yeah. It's been an awakening. Really, it's an awakening. I look at it, why would these prosecutors help Amazon?
But I think the answer isn't that complicated. I think most prosecutors leave -- leave the federal -- leave the Department of Justice. And they go work in private practice. And who is going to hire them?
Me or Amazon? Amazon is. Right?
So I think the revolving door in Washington has really what I've been thinking a lot about.
GLENN: I have not. I didn't know the numbers. The numbers you threw out on the special. Pretty staggering about the number of FBI prosecutors and DOJ officials, that are being hired by Amazon. Why would they need all of those people?
But I think -- because of your experience, we know why they are.
AMY: I think part of it is. I think they want to have a close relationship with the Department of Justice. Because the intelligence community is Amazon's web services. They get clients. The more of a relationship that they have, you know, the more they're likely to continue making a profit from selling products to the government. But I also think, and this is just my opinion.
But if you have a Department of Justice, that is focused on anti-trust. And thinking about breaking Amazon up. Anti-trust falls within the Department of Justice.
So if you're like, no, no. We're your friends. You like us. We're your colleague, that's better than having the Department of Justice come at you for anti-trust.
So did you get your money back yet?
AMY: We did actually. So we got our money back in February of 2020. That said, the government held our money for 20 months. So for 20 months, we had to figure out --
GLENN: Hang on just a second. Closed your bank accounts. Closed your credit card. So you couldn't use your credit cards. Took your money out of your accounts. You had no way to buy anything. Right?
AMY: And we didn't. Other than the fact that we were both still working. So they took everything after a certain date, and we kept working. I will say both Carla and I lost work because of this, because of the very sensational, public allegations.
It's hard for me, right? Because I'm not accused for anything.
AMY: And it's not fair that it impacted my husband either.
GLENN: Did you lose friends?
AMY: We did. And that was really hard too.
I mean, I remember once I had accidentally got a text from a woman, talking about me, that wasn't meant from me.
And it was someone I thought was a business colleague and a friend. But I did lose friends and Carl lost friends. But we also figured out who our friends were. There's nothing good going through something like this. But we have been surrounded by so much love. And we have faith. And so that's really helped to get us through this.
GLENN: Yeah. So you said that -- you've seen the effects, and not just in your story.
But take us down the road of this collusion, between the government and Amazon.
AMY: Yeah. So I -- in my own kind of deep search for how the hell did this happen.
I was figuring out, looking at the relationship between Amazon and the Department of Justice. Like, I just figured out, going on linked in,how many people they were hiring from the Department of Justice.
Then I started looking around, on the Department of Justice website. And I was able to piece together, on a two-year period, Amazon had referred over 36 criminal investigations, to the Department of Justice. And I thought, is that normal?
And I went around and looked. And it was Walmart. One of the other largest companies in America. It was two.
AMY: And that's just stunning to me.
And they also have -- I remember in 2008, I had a call from a guy, who was in Amazon, and he was -- he was overseeing some of their -- their server sites.
And if I'm not mistaken, he had something to do with security
And he said, he called me up off the air. And he said, Glenn, whatever our federal government is doing with Amazon. This is not going to work out well.
I said, what are you talking about?
And he said, there's a 10-foot trench just outside our trenches. It's 10 feet down, goes all the way down the fences of our servers.
They're putting in all kinds of monitoring, to make sure that nobody penetrates that. He said, we're starting to partner with the government on information. This can't be good.
AMY: I mean, I don't see how you can't think that they are partnering at this point. You have the FBI, and the CIA, and the NSA.
They hire Amazon web services to hold the government secrets in their data warehouses. And it just seems like governments should be doing on their own. Not relying on a private company. Particularly one that is owned by a billionaire, who owns media companies. You know.
Like, it's weird.
GLENN: Yeah. And isn't the NSA, former NSA director, on their board, or --
AMY: Yes. Yes. The former head of the National Security Agency, is on the corporate board of Amazon.com, as is a lawyer named Jamie Garelles (phonetic), who works for a private law firm, but who previously was the deputy attorney general for the United States as she mentored Merrick Garland. It's all just too close for comfort, for me, personally.
GLENN: Yeah. Honestly, and I don't mean -- I'm not joking about this. I mean this sincerely. Liberals were right about one thing. And conservatives were wrong. You should worry about these giant corporations. I always thought that was crazy. Because who would want to say -- who is out there building the business, going, I want the government more involved in my business? I never thought that would happen. But you know the liberals were absolutely right. I just don't know why they don't see it now.
AMY: It is -- it is something I think about all the time, Glenn. In that, you made a good point, on your show the other night. Talking about how -- about putting someone in prison.
If you put them in prison, for defying Congress. No one has done that in 60 years. I see on the progressive side, people being gleeful about it. So but what I want to say to progressives, this can set a precedent.
So when it's a Republican in charge, they can do the same thing. And you won't be very gleeful about it. You shouldn't look at our constitutional rights as partisan things.
We should hold them dear for all of us, regardless of our politics. And I think we've lost that. I don't know how. Ask I don't know why.
GLENN: Yeah. I do. You should listen to me some more.
AMY: I have been. I have been. I'm a fan now.
GLENN: So, Amy, what is the biggest thing you've learned out of this, that you feel you should pass on to other people? What should they know?
AMY: The thing I want to pass on to other people, is that, you know, if you are accused of something that you didn't do, particularly by people who seem to have more power and more money, a lot of people will tell you to be quiet.
But I think that's wrong. I think the only way to hold power accountable, is to speak out. And I think you're safer when you do speak out too. And so I would encourage people, if they are being deprived of their rights. If they are being accused of something they didn't do. To try to talk about it. To try to get people to listen.
Because that's the only way, I think, to protect yourself. And to drive change. Ask to make sure, it won't happen to other people. Because if Amazon can do this, it's a playbook for every corporation in America. And that is terrifying.
GLENN: Oh, yeah. Amy, are you concerned at all, about retaliation about being on the show, or continuing to speak out on this?
AMY: You know I -- I am. But I also will say, Glenn. That you know Jeff Bezos is out there, publicly saying he hired Gavin de Becker, the former I think -- you know, for his personal security.
GLENN: Oh, yeah. Hang on. Hang on. I've had Gavin de Becker, as my personal security for a while. They're not anymore. Yeah. I know. I know. I know.
AMY: Yeah. You know, it's terrifying.
But I do feel safer, speaking out publicly.
You know, I actually found out last month, because I use social media a lot. And Andy Jassy, he's the CEO of Amazon. We have a number of friends in common. I mean, I personally know Amazon's general counsel David Folky (phonetic), which has made all of this more painful for me.
However, I did find out last night, that Andy Jassy blocked me on Facebook. I'm just a mom in Ohio and the CEO of Amazon. A trillion dollar company personally blocking me on Facebook.
GLENN: That's fantastic. Amy, thank you so much. You go back to court, I think in January. Right?
Or is it --
AMY: So Carl's trial, my husband's civil trial is in May. I'm looking forward to getting this over with.
GLENN: I bet. And we can't wait to talk to you. And celebrate with you, when you win. Thank you so much, Amy. God bless.