Mission Viejo Man Gets 3 Years In Embezzling From Employers

Mission Viejo Man Gets 3 Years In Embezzling From Employers

MISSION VIEJO, CA — A three-year federal prison term was handed down Wednesday for a former financial executive who embezzled more than $2 million from two Irvine-based engineering firms by making over 800 unauthorized withdrawals from company accounts over a five-year period and used the money, among other things, to make lease payments on a Lamborghini.

Deepak Kharbanda, a 44-year-old Mission Viejo resident who formerly lived in Irvine, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge James V. Selna to pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution.

Kharbanda, who was the chief financial officer at Applied GeoKinetics and Advanced Construction Technologies, stole nearly $2.1 million from his employers from 2010 to 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Kharbanda admitted that he made 841 unauthorized withdrawals from the companies’ bank accounts and used the money to pay personal expenses, including costs associated with a girlfriend, trips to Las Vegas, upgrades to his home and the Lamborghini lease.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors noted that the companies were forced to cut salaries and lost some employees as a result of Kharbanda’s conduct, which included attempts to cover up the crimes by preparing phony payroll accounts and summaries.

Soon after he pleaded guilty in September 2017 to two counts of wire fraud, and while he was free on bond, Kharbanda forged a letter and sent it to a potential employer, claiming it was a communication from the court’s Pretrial Services Agency, which supervises defendants who have been freed on bond, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

After Pretrial Services obtained a copy of the letter, which falsely said Kharbanda was only a witness — and not the defendant — in the embezzlement case, he admitted he was the author and was remanded into custody by Selna last December.

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Jack Herman