Former Apple employee admits to defrauding the company out of $17 million

Dhirendra Prasad says he took kickbacks and stole parts over the course of seven years.

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A former Apple employee has pled guilty to defrauding the company out of over $17 million. Dhirendra Prasad, who spent most of his decade at Apple working as a buyer in the Global Service Supply Chain department, admitted to "taking kickbacks, inflating invoices, stealing parts and causing Apple to pay for items and services never received,” according to the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. Prasad started these schemes in 2011 and continued them until 2018.

In one scam, Prasad shipped motherboards from Apple's inventory to CTrends, a company run by a co-conspirator, Don M. Baker (who previously admitted to taking part in the fraudulent schemes). Baker harvested components from the motherboards, then Prasad organized purchase orders for those parts. After Baker shipped the components back to Apple, CTrends filed invoices for which Prasad arranged payment. In the end, the pair got Apple to pay for its own components and they split the proceeds of the scam.

In addition to fleecing Apple, Prasad confessed to engaging in tax fraud. He directed payments from Robert Gary Hansen (another co-conspirator who has admitted to taking part in the schemes) straight to his creditors. In addition, Prasad arranged for a shell company to send sham invoices to CTrends with the aim of covering up illicit payments Baker made to him. This enabled Baker "to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars of unjustified tax deductions," the US Attorney's Office said. All told, prosecutors claim that the scams resulted in the IRS losing over $1.8 million.

Prasad will be sentenced in March. He pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Prasad also pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which has a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment. Moreover, Prasad agreed to forfeit around $5 million worth of assets he accrued as a result of his criminal actions, including real estate properties.