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Former Indian-American employee sent to jail for stealing $17 mn from Apple

San Francisco, April 29 (IANS) Dhirendra Prasad, a former Apple employee who was charged with defrauding tech giant Apple and related tax crimes, has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay more than $19 million.

He was charged in March 2022 for stealing around $17 million from the iPhone maker through mail and wire fraud schemes.

Prasad, 55, from Mountain House in San Joaquin County, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the US on November 2, 2022.

The remaining counts were dismissed at sentencing, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.

The criminal conduct centred around Prasad’s employment at Apple from December 2008 through December 2018.

For most of that time, he was a “buyer” in Apple’s Global Service Supply Chain. It was Prasad’s job as an Apple buyer to facilitate the process through which Apple bought parts to perform warranty repairs on older devices.

According to the Justice Department, Prasad exploited his position and conspired with two separate Apple vendors to defraud the iPhone maker by taking kickbacks, stealing parts, inflating invoices, and causing the tech giant to pay for items and services it never received — resulting in a loss to Apple of more than $17,000,000.

In addition to engaging in two separate criminal conspiracies with Apple vendors, Prasad also acknowledged that he evaded tax on the proceeds of his schemes.

By virtue of his position at Apple, “Prasad was given substantial discretion to make autonomous decisions to benefit his employer”.

He 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.

“Additionally, Prasad used his insider information regarding the company’s fraud-detection techniques to design his criminal schemes to avoid detection,” said the DOJ.

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