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Salil Parulekar must have thought he was pretty smart.
He had a management job at Tesla, overseeing the company's relationship with global suppliers. When he saw Tesla was cutting off one supplier, he figured out a way to impersonate another supplier and divert $9.3 million to himself.
At least that's how prosecutors described the scheme in United States of America v. Parulekar. For Parulekar, it means he'll have to figure out how to avoid 20 years in prison and about $2.5 million in fines.
Typically, identity thieves peel off a few hundred dollars from individuals before bank customers figure it out and cancel their debit or credit cards. It's one of the biggest identity theft scams on the planet.
Parulekar took it to another level. The ex-Tesla worker allegedly stole the identity of a supplier's employee, then he switched out the bank account information and defrauded Tesla's accountants to make the payments to him.
He pulled it off over two years before the company and authorities caught up with him. The scam turned into nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for the 32-year-old Parulekar.
Unfortunately for Tesla, it is another headache in a series of alleged thefts by former employees.
Elon Musk, who has had his share of issues this year, recently broke down in tears during an interview. He told the New York Times his work/life balance was "excruciatingly" out of whack.
Among myriad problems, Tesla has dealt with inside theft and outside theft. Some ex-employees claim the company has tried to bury the problems.
In one whistleblower case, a former employee says Tesla hid that the company was robbed of $37 million worth of copper and other materials.
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