Washington DC: A former Apple employee of Indian origin was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay more than USD 19 million in restitution for conspiring to defraud the tech giant of millions of dollars and for related tax crimes.
Dhirendra Prasad, 55, was charged last year in March with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of tax evasion, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The criminal conduct, in this case, centred around Prasad’s employment at Apple from December 2008 through December 2018.
Prasad from San Joaquin County in the US state of California used to work as an Apple buyer in Apple’s Global Service Supply Chain to facilitate the process through which Apple bought parts to perform warranty repairs on older devices, the statement said.
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Prasad exploited his position and conspired with two separate Apple vendors to defraud Apple by taking kickbacks, stealing parts, inflating invoices, and causing Apple to pay for items and services it never received – resulting in a loss to Apple of more than USD 17,000,000, the statement said.
According to DOJ, apart from engaging in two separate criminal conspiracies with Apple vendors, Prasad also acknowledged that he evaded tax on the proceeds of his schemes.
It said that by virtue of his position at Apple, Prasad was given substantial discretion to make autonomous decisions to benefit his employer. Prasad abused his power to enrich himself at his employer’s expense – all while accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of compensation from Apple in the form of salary and bonuses.
Moreover, Prasad used his insider information regarding the company’s fraud-detection techniques to design his criminal schemes to avoid detection. In addition to the three-year prison sentence, a federal judge ordered Prasad to forfeit over USD 5,491,713 worth of assets already seized by the government.
He was also ordered to pay restitution of USD 17,398,104 to Apple and USD 1,872,579 to the Internal Revenue Service, the statement added.