Indian-American IT consultant convicted of multimillion-dollar kickback scheme

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An Indian-American information technology consultant was convicted by a federal grand jury in New York, for engaging in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme July 29.

Shivanand Maharaj was found guilty of honest services wire fraud, paying kickbacks in connection with an employee benefit plan, and conspiracy, following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl.

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty verdict, noting that Maharaj’s co-cospirator Enrico Rubano, a/k/a “Rick Rubano,” who was a director of information technology at a large union pension and health benefit fund (the “Funds”), pled guilty in connection with the same crimes shortly before 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.”

Maharaj will be sentenced by Judge Koeltl on December 6, 2019.

The 39-year old from Cresskill, New Jersey, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of giving kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan, which carries a maximum sentence of three years; and conspiracy to give kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

According to documents produced in court and the evidence presencted during trial, from 2009 through 2015, Rubani was the co-head of information technology for the Funds and had the authority to approve the payment of invoices from third-party vendors.

Beginning around 2009, and continuing through 2015, Maharaj and Rubano devised a scheme in which three different companies Maharaj owned or controlled submitted invoices for millions of dollars in information technology services to the Fund, for jobs that were never performed or been performed by employees of the Funds or other vendors.

Rubano, in his position as co-head of information technology, approved these invoices and received kickbacks from Maharaj, who through his fraudulent activities received in excess $2 million through this scheme.

Rubano, 50, of Tappan, New York, pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced by Judge Koeltl on November 8, 2019.

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