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A former Indian American executive of Cisco Systems, Inc. has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for wire fraud and tax convictions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition to the prison sentence, 52-year-old Prithviraj ‘Roger’ Bhikha of San Francisco has been ordered to pay Cisco $1.15 million in restitution and more than $2.5 million
According to the Department of Justice, Bhikha was ‘convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aiding and assisting in the filing of a false and fraudulent tax return.’
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In November 2020, Bhikha pled guilty to the crimes. In the plea agreement, he said that he worked for Cisco from 1999 to 2017.
Around 2013, he was assigned to lead ‘Project New York’ — The project’s goal ‘was to enable Cisco to retain third-party vendors to negotiate savings with manufacturers on certain parts used by Cisco to assemble Cisco products.’
Bhikha admitted to receiving kickback payments from a vendor and creating a company to act as a vendor, even though Cisco prohibits purchasing items from employees. This information was kept from Cisco.
In the plea agreement, Bhikha also admitted to never informing Cisco that:
- He or his wife were employed by or had ownership, control, or financial interest in the Lucena entities
- Bhikha or his wife had a personal interest in or personally benefitted from the payments that Cisco made to those entities
- He had requested and received kickback payments from a Cisco vendor
According to Bhikha, he and his wife used foreign accounts to send more than $9 million and failed to file that money in his tax returns from 2014 to 2017.
Bhikha has been ordered to give up his two properties in San Francisco.
He is currently out on bond but was ordered to surrender on October 28.