A former Cisco employee, Prithvirag Bhikha, is headed to prison for tax and wire fraud. In 2013 Bhikha was assigned to lead a new Cisco venture called “Project New York” which entailed hiring third party vendors to negotiate savings with manufacturers Cisco worked with.
In 2014, Bhikha asked a vendor hired under Project New York to provide kickbacks in exchange for Cisco business. The vendor agreed and paid out 1.15 million dollars in kickbacks to a company Bhikha had formed in Hong Kong, Lucena Limited.
In 2014 Bhikha transferred ownership of Lucena to his wife and signed up the company as a Project New York vendor. From 2014 to 2017 Cisco paid Lucena 10.06 million dollars for performing price negotiation services. Bhikha went as far as having someone pose as Lucena’s CEO in a 2016 meeting held at Cisco headquarters in Northern California. Bhikha attended the meeting and the imposter presented false information about Lucena in order to keep the account.
Bhikha repatriated more than nine million dollars from foreign accounts held by Lucena and failed to report any of that income to his tax preparers.
He was sentenced to 36 months in prison and was ordered to pay 1.15 million dollars in restitution to Cisco and 2.5 million dollars to the IRS.