SANTA ANA, California – A former executive at two Irvine-based engineering firms was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $2 million by making over 800 unauthorized withdrawals from company accounts over a five-year period.
Deepak Kharbanda, 44, a Mission Viejo resident who formerly lived in Irvine, was sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna. In addition to the prison term, Judge Selna ordered Kharbanda to pay $1,363,496 in restitution.
Kharbanda, who was the chief financial officer at Applied GeoKinetics and Advanced Construction Technologies, stole $2,074,496 from his employers from 2010 to 2015. Kharbanda admitted in court that he made 841 unauthorized withdrawals from the companies’ bank accounts and that he used the money to pay personal expenses, including costs associated with a girlfriend, trips to Las Vegas, upgrades to his home and the lease on a Lamborghini.
Kharbanda “stole more than $2 million dollars from companies where he was a trusted C-suite executive,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “He stole from them repeatedly, and did so time and time again over a five-year period.”
Prosecutors noted that the companies suffered during this time because they were forced to cut salaries and they 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.
Kharbanda pleaded guilty in September 2017 to two counts of wire fraud. Soon after entering his guilty pleas and while 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. The bogus letter claimed that Kharbanda was only a witness – not the defendant – in this case. After Pretrial Services obtained a copy of the letter, Kharbanda admitted he authored the letter and was remanded into custody by Judge Selna in December 2017.
“The illegal and fraudulent conduct of forging the seal and signature of Pretrial Services, creating a counterfeit Pretrial Service letterhead, writing a false statement on that counterfeit document, and hiding his actions from Pretrial Services is the epitome of being untruthful with Pretrial Services,” prosecutors wrote in court documents earlier this year. “In fact, Pretrial Services was able to discover defendant’s illegal conduct only because the employment background investigator contacted Pretrial Services.”
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel H. Ahn and Gina J. Kong of the Santa Ana Branch Office.
Release No. 18-169