An Apple executive accused of taking kickbacks to help suppliers secure favorable contracts has pled guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
In the guilty plea, Paul Shin Devine, a supply manager for Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, admitted to defrauding the company, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. Court filings say he was part of a scheme to give confidential information from Apple to suppliers, who gave Devine kickbacks. Giving suppliers the information helped them to negotiate better deals with Apple. In the plea agreement Devine admitted that he cost the company $2.4 million.
Devine will be sentenced on June 6. He could face 20 years in prison. Already he has been asked to forfeit about $2.28 million.
The investigation started in April 2010, and Devine was indicted on Aug. 11. He was charged with fifteen counts of wire fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy, six counts of money laundering, and one count of engaging in transactions with criminally-derived proceeds. Under the plea agreement, Devine pled guilty to one count of each violation.
When he was charged in August, Devine was asked to post $600,000 bail and tell prosecutors about any foreign bank accounts. According to published reports, Devine kept $150,000 in cash tucked away in shoe boxes, which was found during a search of his home. Assistant US attorney Michelle Kane said at the time the foreign accounts and safety deposit boxes made Devine a flight risk. Prosecutors say the deposit boxes contained proceeds from the fraud.
In addition to the criminal indictment, Apple filed a civil suit. Among the accusations in the complaint are fraud, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, breach of contract and fiduciary duty.
Many of the suppliers to Apple were South Korean and Chinese companies. The accusations against Devine have reverberated across the Pacific, as the executive chairman of JLJ Holdings, Jacky Chua, stepped down from his position while the investigation was pending.
To contact the reporter responsible for this story call (646) 461 6917 or email email@example.com.