A former Tesla global supply manager was indicted Thursday by federal prosecutors alleging he embezzled more than $9 million from the Palo Alto electric car maker.
Salil Parulekar, 32, is charged with felony wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Parulekar oversaw Tesla’s dealings with certain auto parts and services vendors and used that position to divert to a German auto parts company $9.3 million in payments intended for a Taiwanese supplier, according to the indictment. The indictment does not make clear whether federal authorities believe the German firm had knowledge of the alleged scheme. The U.S. Attorney’s office for Northern California said it could not provide information beyond what is in the indictment.
Parulekar, who was living in San Jose and working for Tesla in 2016 and 2017, falsified invoices, created fake accounts-payable documents, and impersonated an employee of the Taiwanese supplier to trick Tesla’s accounts-payable department into switching the bank account information of the Taiwanese and German companies, the indictment alleged.
That Taiwanese firm’s complaints to Tesla about missing money went to Parulekar, who responded by sending fake documents purporting to show the payments were made, the indictment claimed.
The German company acknowledged in March that it had received the $9.3 million in payments, the indictment said. That company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Parulekar had worked for Tesla since 2013, according to the indictment. Tesla declined to comment on the indictment.
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