Information Technology Chief And Consultant Charged With Multimillion-Dollar False Invoicing Scheme
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced today the filing of a criminal complaint charging ENRICO RUBANO, a/k/a “Rick Rubano,” and SHIVANAND MAHARAJ with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a false invoicing scheme that defrauded health and retirement funds (the “Funds”) of millions of dollars. As alleged, over a period of six years, RUBANO, MAHARAJ, and their co-conspirators generated hundreds of invoices for work they had not performed, which RUBANO, in his role as co-head of information technology for the Funds, approved for payment. RUBANO and MAHARAJ were arrested this morning, and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Enrico Rubano used his position as the co-head of IT for a health and retirement benefit fund to perpetrate a scheme to falsely invoice millions of dollars from the fund for consulting work never actually performed. Rubano allegedly had the fund make payments based on hundreds of fake invoices to Shivanand Maharaj’s company, not for IT work actually done by that company, but really in exchange for alleged kickback payments to Rubano. Money that should have gone to help pay retirement and health care benefits were instead allegedly diverted to Rubano and Maharaj.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said: “These defendants devised a scheme to falsely bill their client for work that was never performed by allegedly using an ‘inside’ employee to approve bogus invoices. They went one step too far when they decided to use the US Mail to facilitate their criminal misdeeds. Postal Inspectors will resolutely pursue fraudsters who use the U.S. mail to facilitate fraud schemes.”
According to the Complaint:
From 2008 through October 2015, RUBANO was the co-head of information technology for the Funds and had the authority to approve the payment of invoices from third-party vendors. Beginning in 2009, and continuing through 2015, RUBANO, MAHARAJ, and others devised a scheme in which companies they owned or controlled submitted to the Funds invoices for millions of dollars in information technology services that were never performed or that had, in fact, been performed by employees of the Funds or other vendors. RUBANO, in his position as co-head of information technology, approved these fraudulent invoices, and received kickbacks from MAHARAJ and other co-conspirators. Between 2009 and 2015, RUBANO, MAHARAJ, and their co-conspirators falsely billed and fraudulently received from the Funds at least approximately $3.4 million.
RUBANO, 48, of Tappan, New York, and MAHARAJ, 36, of Cresskill, New Jersey, were arrested this morning in Tappan, New York, and Cresskill, New Jersey, respectively. RUBANO and MAHARAJ are each charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the USPIS in this investigation. He added that the investigation is continuing.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Podolsky and Jacob Warren are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.