Ex-Tesla Employee Charged in $9.3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – Federal prosecutors on Thursday indicted a former Tesla employee on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, claiming the man stole $9.3 million from the automaker over a two-year period.

Salil Parulekar, who worked for Tesla’s Global Supply Management group, used his position overseeing Tesla’s relationship with certain suppliers to orchestrate a scheme that diverted millions to himself during 2016 and 2017, prosecutors say.

The Justice Department said Friday that Parulekar, 32, learned Tesla was ending its relationship with German pump supplier Schwabische Huttenwerke Automotive would be withholding future payments from the company. Parulekar is said to have impersonated another supplier, Hota Industrial Manufacturing, and redirected payments intended for Hota to Schwabische.

To carry out his scheme, prosecutors say Parulekar stole the identity of a Hota employee and by impersonating this employee was able to switch the bank account information for Hota and Schwabische by deceiving Tesla’s accounts-payable division.

Parulekar faces nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison a $250,000 fine on each fraud count, and two years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the identity theft charge.

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