Former Tesla employee of Indian origin charged in embezzlement scheme

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A federal grand jury in Northern California issued an indictment against Salil Parulekar Nov. 8, charging him with allegedly engaging in a $9.3 million embezzlement scheme in 2016 and 2017.

The announcement about the indictment was made by United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, in a press release.

Parulekar was charged with nine counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  If convicted, the maximum penalty for each count of wire fraud is twenty years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  The maximum sentence for aggravated identity theft is two years in prison—to be served consecutively to the underlying felony—and a $250,000 fine.

However, an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and Parulekar is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the indictment, during 2016 and 2017, Parulekar, 32, formerly of San Jose, allegedly orchestrated an embezzlement scheme at Tesla Inc. while he was an employee in the Global Supply Management group at the company and was responsible for overseeing its relationship with some of the suppliers for various parts and services related to Tesla automobiles.  Prosecutors say Parulekar allegedly used his role to initiate a scheme to divert money owed to one Tesla supplier and caused it to be paid to another supplier.

The U.S. Attorney, noted in the press release that according to the indictment, Parulekar allegedly falsified invoices, created fraudulent accounts payable documents, such as bank account information and wire instructions; and impersonated an employee of one of the companies that supplied parts.

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