New York: A 39-year-old Indian-origin IT consultant in the US has been found guilty of running a fraud multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. The IT consultant faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.
New Jersey-based Shivanand Maharaj was convicted on charges of wire fraud and giving kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan, which carry a sentence of at least 25 years' imprisonment.
He will be sentenced in December, said United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman.
Maharaj's co-conspirator Enrico Rubano, who was director of information technology at a large union pension and health benefit fund, pled guilty in connection with the same crimes shortly before the trial.
"For years, Shivanand Maharaj bribed an insider at a pension and health fund to approve hundreds of invoices for information technology work that was never done at all. He now stands rightly convicted for depriving hardworking individuals out of millions of dollars of health and retirement benefits," Berman said.
According to allegations contained in the indictment and evidence presented during the trial in Manhattan federal court, from 2009 through 2015, Rubano was the co-head of information technology for the fund had the authority to approve the payment of invoices from third-party vendors.
Beginning in at least 2009, and continuing through 2015, Maharaj and Rubano devised a scheme in which three different companies Maharaj owned or controlled submitted to the funds invoices for millions of dollars in information technology services that were never performed or that had been performed by employees of the funds or other vendors.
Rubano, in his position as co-head of information technology, approved these fraudulent invoices and received kickbacks from Maharaj, who by submitting hundreds of invoices and recruiting another co-conspirator to receive additional criminal proceeds, fraudulently received in excess of USD 2 million through this scheme.