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Apple embezzler admits defrauding company of $17M; faces 20 yrs


An Apple embezzler who was originally estimated to have cost the Cupertino company $10M has now admitted to fraudulently obtaining a total of $17M over a period of seven years.

Dhirendra Prasad worked as a buyer in Apple’s global supply-chain division, and engaged in a mix of activities in order to steal the money…

Background

The case first came to light back in March, when Prasad was charged with five federal crimes.

A former Apple employee is facing federal charges after he allegedly defrauded the tech giant out of millions of dollars over the span of several years, prosecutors said […]

Prosecutors said Prasad allegedly engaged in “multiple different schemes to defraud Apple,” which included taking kickbacks, stealing parts and causing Apple to pay for items and services it never received. The losses to Apple were more than $10 million, according to a court filing.

Apple embezzler pleads guilty

CNET reports that Prasad has now pleaded guilty to mail and wire-fraud charges.

Prasad said in a written plea statement that he started defrauding Apple in 2011 by engaging in theft, taking kickbacks and inflating invoices. Two co-conspirators, Robert Gary Hansen and Don M. Baker, were charged with participating in Prasad’s schemes and have admitted their involvement, the US Attorney’s Office said.

In one instance, Prasad said he had motherboards shipped in 2013 from Apple to Baker’s company, CTrends. Baker had the motherboards’ components harvested and then shipped the components back to Apple, for which Prasad issued Apple billing invoices to purchase. After Apple paid the fraudulent invoices, the pair split the proceeds.

He has also pleaded guilty to separate tax fraud charges.

Prasad also admitted engaging in tax fraud by funneling illicit payments from Hansen to Prasad’s creditors. He arranged for a shell company to issue fake invoices to CTrends to conceal Baker’s illicit payments to Prasad, allowing Baker to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars of unjustified tax deductions and resulting in an IRS loss of more than $1.8 million.

Prasad could be sentenced to up to 20 years for defrauding Apple, and an additional five years for tax fraud. Of the $17M total, only $5M worth of seizable assets have been identified, leaving Apple $12M out of pocket.

Given the extremely large sums, and the length of time over which the embezzlement took place, questions will inevitably be asked about Apple’s audit procedures. Apple had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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Naveen Kumar

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