A former Apple employee, Dhirendra Prasad, one of the buyers of the company, was charged for stealing millions of dollars from the tech giant – and from the United States in form of tax frauds.
Who’s Dhirendra Prasad?
Dhirendra Prasad is a 55-year-old former Apple employee. He worked as a buyer in the Global Service Supply Chain of the tech company for ten years, from 2008 to 2018.
He was responsible for buying components used by the company to repair older Apple devices.
The buyer was sued in November 2022 for conspiracy to commit fraud and defraud both the tech giant and the United States. Prasad was recently sentenced.
What he did
The former Apple employee used to orchestrate scams and frauds, forcing the company to pay for components Prasad buyed to make personal profits, and inflating invoice to profit from the difference between the real amount due and the invoiced amount.
He wasn’t alone: according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) he had at least two accomplices, owners of different companies – always in the tech industry – that allowed Prasad to create false or inflated invoices and to organize tax frauds.
The schemes were designed to take into account all the possible inconveniences, also for what concerns fiscal obligations. This was possible also because of the insider information Prasad was able to get.
They divided the profits made through frauds and scams. The fraudulent schemes took place between 2011 and 2018.
Prasad, to avoid being caught for all those years, used his deep knowledge of the anti-fraud measures applied by the company.
As reported by Engadget, one fraudulent episode involved Prasad and one of his accomplices outside of Apple, Don Baker.
Baker ran an independent business, CTrends. He bought components from Apple, then Prasad organized orders to purchase those components from CTrends. Once the components were shipped back to Apple, Prasad filed invoices. In this way, Apple was re-buying and paying for its own components, and the two accomplices took the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme.
This was just one of the many cases that involved Prasad – actually, the former Apple employee stole millions from the company and from the IRS.
A similar scheme was used by Prasad and another accomplice, Robert Gary Hansen, owner of Quality Electronics Distributor Inc. – both Hansen and Baker admitted their involvement.
Also in this case, components was bought and then resold to Apple, invoices were filed by Prasad, and then the Apple employee and the business owner split the profits at the expenses of the tech giant.
The team also used a shell company to move funds and avoid taxes – since they used the newly created company as one of Hansen’s creditors, in order to have a business entity that could directly receive payments and in an apparently legal way.
Dhirendra Prasad has been sentenced to three years of jail and other three years of supervised release.
The case was handled by the US Attorney Ismail Ramsey, the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) special agent Darren Lian and Judge Beth Freeman.
The charges of money laundering were dismissed, but he was sued for fraud and the government has already taken Prasad’s assets – including real estate properties – worth over $5 million.
Moreover, the ex Apple buyer was forced to pay an additional fixed amount of over $8 million.
Prasad also has to give back to his former employer over $17 million – and taxes: Prasad didn’t pay taxes on his proceedings from the fraudulent schemes he orchestrated, making the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) lose almost $2 million that Prasad now has to pay.
As reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Northern District of California, this type of fraud doesn’t only have economic repercussions, but also raises deeper concerns about the function of employees in the tech sector.
Innovative companies need to rely on the honesty of their employees.
Dhirendra Prasad didn’t only use his insider information, and defraud his employers while earning his salary and bonuses, but also betrayed the company – something that might have led to more serious consequences.
The Prasad case might work as a deterrent in the future.
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