By Sabela Ojea

A former Takeda Pharmaceutical senior employee has pleaded guilty to defrauding the company of least $2.3 million.

Priya Bhambi, who served in the pharmaceutical company's technology-operations team, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one of count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud, the District of Massachusetts' U.S. Attorney's Office said.

In a co-led scheme, Bhambi submitted fabricated invoices on behalf of a sham consulting company called Evoluzione Consulting whose website Bhambi allegedly created, the Attorney's Office added.

From March 2022 to May 2022, Takeda paid five separate invoices for services that Evoluzione hadn't performed, each in the amount of $460,000, according to the Attorney's Office.

With the money, Bhambi and the co-conspirator allegedly bought a diamond engagement ring, purchased a Mercedes-Benz Model E, made a down payment on a $1.9 million Boston condominium and put in place a deposit on a wedding venue.

In connection with the charges, the court issued seizure warrants for the Mercedes, over $1 million in fraud proceeds from accounts the defendants controlled, $49,985 from the wedding-venue deposit, and issued a restraining order to preserve the Seaport condominium for forfeiture, the Attorney's Office said.

Write to Sabela Ojea at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-06-24 1928ET