Home / News / World /  Explained: How ex-Apple employee, Dhirendra Prasad, stole over 140 cr from the tech giant

A former Apple employee pleaded guilty in federal court on 1 November to defrauding Apple Inc of more than $17 million (over 140 crores) over seven years, United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Pearson said.

In a written plea agreement, Dhirendra Prasad described the schemes he carried out while he worked as a buyer for Apple's Global Service Supply chain, the US Attorney's Office said.

In March 2022, a federal criminal case was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against Prasad with defrauding his former employer Apple, Inc. of millions of dollars and with money laundering and tax evasion.

Prasad admitted the fraud involved “taking kickbacks, inflating invoices, stealing parts, and causing Apple to pay for items and services never received," prosecutors said in a statement.

Prasad, 52 was employed by Apple from 2008 through 2018 and acted for most of that time as a buyer in Apple’s Global Service Supply Chain.

His responsibilities involved purchasing parts and services for Apple from vendors. Prasad admitted he began to defraud Apple as early as 2011 by taking kickbacks, inflating invoices, stealing parts, and causing Apple to pay for items and services never received. He admitted that these schemes continued through 2018 and ultimately resulted in a loss to Apple of more than $17 million.

Apart from this, he also admitted his co-conspirators in the fraud schemes were Robert Gary Hansen and Don M. Baker. "Hansen and Baker each owned vendor companies, and their companies engaged in business with Apple. Hansen and Baker were earlier charged in separate federal criminal cases, and they have admitted their involvement in the schemes," as per the press release by US attorney office.

In one of several fraud schemes admitted by Prasad, in 2013 he had motherboards shipped from Apple’s inventory to Baker’s company, CTrends. Baker arranged to have the motherboards’ components harvested, and Prasad arranged for Apple to issue purchase orders for those harvested components. Baker shipped the harvested components back to Apple, and CTrends submitted invoices to Apple, thus billing Apple for its own components. In 2016 also, Prasad arranged to have components shipped from Apple’s inventory located in a Nevada warehouse to Hansen’s business, Quality Electronics Distributors, Inc wherein Apple was again billed for its own components.

In addition to the many fraud schemes, Prasad has also admitted that he was engaged in tax fraud by funneling illicit payments from Hansen directly to Prasad’s creditors. He caused a shell company to issue sham invoices to CTrends in order to conceal Baker’s illicit payments to Prasad and to allow Baker to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars of unjustified tax deductions. These schemes resulted in an IRS loss of more than $1.8 million.

United States District Judge Beth L. Freeman scheduled Prasad’s sentencing hearing for March 14, 2023. Prasad remains out of custody pending his sentencing hearing.

He could face more than 20 years in prison. Two of his co-conspirators, outside vendors who did business with Apple, have been charged in separate federal cases.

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