Apple employee defrauded the company of US$10 million, US prosecutors say

The Apple logo on a building
Dhirendra Prasad is accused of exploiting his "position of trust". Photo credit: Getty Images

US prosecutors have charged a former Apple employee with defrauding the iPhone maker out of more than US$10 million (NZ$14.5 million) in a series of schemes.

Dhirendra Prasad faces five criminal counts after exploiting his "position of trust" as a buyer in Apple's global service supply chain to defraud the company, according to filings with the federal court in San Jose, California.

Prosecutors said that as an Apple buyer, Prasad negotiated with vendors and placed orders, with Apple making payments based on invoice amounts he entered into its purchasing system.

Prasad allegedly defrauded Apple by taking kickbacks, stealing parts using false repair orders, and causing Apple to pay for items and services it never received

Prosecutors said Prasad also evaded taxes on and laundered proceeds from his schemes. Apple fired him in December 2018 after a decade of employment, court papers show.

It is unclear whether Prasad has a lawyer. Prasad could not immediately be reached for comment. A phone number listed for him has been disconnected.

Two owners of vendors that did business with Apple and who allegedly conspired with Prasad on similar fraud schemes pleaded guilty to related charges in December, court records show.

Prasad faces charges including conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud, commit money laundering and defraud the United States, as well as tax evasion.

His arraignment is scheduled for March 24, US time. Prasad worked for the Cupertino-based tech giant for 10 years.

The court has allowed the federal government to seize properties and bank accounts worth over US$5 million (NZ$7.2 million) and wants to keep them under the proceeds of crime act.

According to NBC News, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion each carry maximum sentences of between five to 20 years. However due to sentencing guidelines and the discretion judges have means most receive less than the maximum, the website said.

Reuters / Newshub