Federal prosecutors in the U.S. say a former Apple employee has pleaded guilty to defrauding the company out of $17 million. The fraud involved "taking kickbacks, inflating invoices, stealing parts, and causing Apple to pay for items and services never received," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of California.
Dhirendra Prasad worked as a buyer for Apple's Global Service supply chain between 2008 and 2018. He began defrauding the company in early 2011, which continued until 2018.
Co-conspirators in the fraud schemes include two vendor owners, Robert Gary Hansen and Don M. Baker, who reside in the Central District of California. Both had already admitted their involvement in the schemes in separate federal criminal cases.
Facing years in prison
According to the government, Prasad, Hansen, and Baker would arrange for Apple to issue purchase orders for components it already owned. In doing so, the company ended up paying the fraudulent invoices, for which the three would share.
In addition to the fraud schemes, Prasad admitted to engaging in tax fraud by funneling illegal payments from Hansen to Prasad's creditors. These schemes totaled an IRS loss of more than $1.8 million.
Prasad has already forfeited $5 million in assets to the U.S. government. These include multiple real estate properties and financial accounts that contained funds traced to the crimes. Prasad has agreed to forfeit all the assets to the United States upon pleading guilty.
In total, Prasad pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; two counts of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, which has another maximum 20-year sentence; another charge to commit conspiracy to defraud the United States, with has a maximum penalty of five years; and finally, one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Prasad's sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 14, 2023, with U.S. District Judge Beth L. Freeman presiding. Until then, he's out of custody. The sentence will take into account U.S. sentencing guidelines.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.