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Procurement guy at Apple allegedly ripped off iPhone giant in $10m+ scam

He faces conspiracy, laundering, tax evasion charges

A now-former Apple employee accused of causing the iGiant to lose more than $10m in a super-scam has been charged with conspiracy, laundering, and tax evasion.

Dhirendra Prasad, 52, of San Joaquin County, California, worked at Apple in the US from 2008 to 2018, spending most of his time as a procurer of components and services for his employer's products. It's claimed, among other things, he received bribes, put in parts orders for fake repairs, siphoned off components, and caused Apple to pay for stuff it never actually got, all while he profited on the side.

As prosecutors put it this month, Prasad allegedly exploited his position by "engaging in multiple different schemes to defraud Apple, including taking kickbacks, stealing parts, and causing Apple to pay for items and services it never received, resulting in a loss of more than $10,000,000." He allegedly evaded tax on these ill-gotten gains, which he also laundered [PDF] and helped in the evasion of tax.

It's alleged Prasad schemed with two men – Robert Hansen and Don Baker, of central California – who ran supply-chain companies, to swindle Apple. It's said Hansen and Baker's outfits did business with the iPhone titan, and "conspired with Prasad to commit fraud and money laundering."

Hansen and Baker were earlier charged separately to Prasad, and have both admitted their involvement in the caper, according to prosecutors. Prasad is due to appear before a judge this week.

Prasad and Baker were also accused [PDF] of working together to deceive the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying income taxes owed by Baker from 2015 to 2017. As well as this, Prasad was accused of tax evasion. He allegedly under-reported his income, claiming he banked $1,215,000 – less than prosecutors said he actually made – and requested a tax refund of $38,959 for his 2017 tax returns.

The US government filed a civil forfeiture action to seize five real-estate properties around California and numerous bank accounts associated with Prasad that have an estimated combined value of $5m. 

"In the first count, Prasad is charged with engaging in a conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud from 2013 through January 2019. In the second and third counts, Prasad is charged with separate conspiracies to launder fraud proceeds. The fourth count charges Prasad with conspiring to evade a co-conspirator's tax liabilities for several years, and the fifth count charges Prasad with evading his own income tax liabilities," the Department of Justice stated. 

He is due to appear before Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen in a San Jose federal district court on March 24. If convicted, each charge could land him from five to 20 years in the clink. ®

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