Former Cisco Employee Arrested, Charged With $9.3 Million Wire Fraud
An ex-employee at Cisco Systems was arrested on Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The charge? Allegedly defrauding the San Jose, Calif.-based hardware conglomerate to the tune of more than $9.3 million.
Prithviraj R. Bhikha was arrested on one very expensive count of wire fraud. Bhikha, whose employment with Cisco ended in 2017, is accused of using his previous position as a director of the company’s global supply chain division to establish a new program under his leadership. The project reportedly entailed identifying and commissioning third-party vendors to negotiate deals on parts used in Cisco product manufacturing.
According to the allegations, after establishing several overseas entities on his own, Bhikha was responsible for directing and approving Cisco contracts with those companies. Cisco (CSCO) wired roughly $6.5 million to one of the entities, and around $2.8 million to another. Colleagues eventually became suspicious of Bhikha’s actions, and according to the Chronicle‘s report, at one point, he allegedly enlisted one coworker to help him create fraudulent documentation for his project. It is not clear if others have or will be charged in the case.
Bhikha was released on a $3 million bond, according to the Chronicle. If convicted, he faces a fine of up to $250,000 and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.