Michael Kail, a former Netflix VP who oversaw the company’s internet technology department. was found guilty by a federal jury of receiving stock options and more than a half-million dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
Kail received the funds as an inducement to approve contracts with the streamer during his 2011 to July 2014 tenure. Netflix prohibits employees from having conflicts of interest and requires them to report gifts from people or entities seeking to sell to the company.
“We are very disappointed in the jury’s verdict,” defense attorney Julia Jayne said. “It goes to show that an innocent person can be convicted when there are so many counts stacked against them and there is a powerful corporation, Netflix, driving the investigation and prosecution.”
Kail will appeal the decision, she said.
Today’s decision goes back to 2018, when Kail was indicted on 19 counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, and seven counts of money laundering. His trial began April 19 and today, the jury found him guilty on 28 of the 29 counts.
Prosecutors alleged Kail approved millions of dollars in contracts for nine tech companies, accepting more than $500,000 in kickbacks and stock options. The incidents allegedly happened between February 2012 and July 2014.
To receive the bribes, Kail created and controlled a limited liability company, Unix Mercenary LLC, prosecutors said. He used that company to fund personal expenses and buy a home in Los Gatos, California.