A 53-year-old Indian-American woman living in The Woodlands neighborhood in Houston, has been sentenced following her conviction of wire fraud. Kavita Nehendra Duvvuru, who pleaded guilty to defrauding her employer Oct. 11, 2017, was handed a two-year sentence July 13.
United States District Judge Sim Lake handed Duvvuru a 24-month sentence at a hearing where the representative of the victim company Vinmar International Ltd. told the court the company was like a family and that Duvvuru’s crime came as a shock. In handing down the sentence, Judge Lake noted the crime deserved punishment by a prison sentence. Duvvuru will also be required to serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of her sentence. She was further ordered to make restitution of $2,537,885.66. The court also entered a forfeiture order imposing a money judgment of $2.5 million.
Duvvuru was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, the press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas said.
Duvvuru was a former employee of Vinmar International Ltd. At the time of her plea, she admitted that while employed there, she made unauthorized charges and cash advances for personal expenses on credit cards which were only to be used for Vinmar business expenses. Duvvuru further admitted she altered the credit card statement and provided false information to conceal her fraud from the company.
Duvvuru began employment with the Houston petrochemical distribution and marketing company Vinmar in 2004. Vinmar paid the balances on several credit cards issued in the name of Vinmar’s president and another officer of Vinmar on a monthly basis. These credit cards included an American Express Plum card and two MasterCards and were used to charge Vinmar’s business expenses. Duvvuru had credit cards issued in her name on those accounts as well, but was only authorized to charge Vinmar business expenses.
According to the plea agreement quoted in the press release, beginning in or about 2010, Duvvuru began making unauthorized charges for personal expenses on the American Express Plum credit card. Eventually, these unauthorized personal charges reached between $10,000 and $20,000 per month. She also obtained unauthorized cash advances from the MasterCard credit cards, which she used for personal expenses including payment of her property taxes and college tuition payments for her children.
In late 2016, Duvvuru made $22,359.29 in unauthorized personal charges on the American Express Plum card. She later accessed the online statement, downloaded a copy and used a software program to alter it to conceal her unauthorized personal charges. She then added a falsified charge for the same amount and attributed it to a Vinmar vendor. She also created false entries to account for the charge it to make it appear to be a legitimate Vinmar business expense. She then submitted the falsified entries to Vinmar’s accounting department.