A former executive at corporate travel technology firm Sabre Airline Solutions has reportedly reached a plea deal with prosecutors following allegations of invoice and wire fraud.
Reports in The Beat said Sanjay Nanda, former SVP at Sabre, pleaded guilty to generating false invoices to embezzle $5.9 million from the firm over a four-year period. According to court documents, Nanda’s position within Sabre gave him the authority to approve invoices for payment.
FBI investigators found he submitted 78 “false and fictitious” invoices from a fake vendor he created to approve those fraudulent bills for invoices. The payments went to his account. Between September 2011 and October 2015, Nanda reportedly created a false vendor, Sadak Ventures, with a phony contractual agreement with Sabre for consulting services.
“Nanda signed the contract on behalf of Sabre, and signed the contract as ‘V.G.,’ purporting to be a principal of Sadak,” court filings said, according to the publication.
Reports noted that the fake signature aimed to convey the identity of Vinod George, executive vice president of Omega World Travel subsidiary TravTech, and former chief information officer of Radius Travel. George and Nanda were reportedly acquaintances, and George is said to have confirmed with the FBI that Nanda inquired about consulting services for Sabre, though denied that any agreement was ever reached.
“I was a victim in this situation, and my identity was used,” George told The Beat.
Federal attorneys filed a criminal complaint against Nanda earlier this year in the U.S. Northern District of Texas. He faces up to 20 years in price, fines and restitution, reports said.
The case highlights the threat of accounts payable fraud within organizations as cybercriminals or internal employees can generate false vendors and invoices to direct corporate payments into personal accounts. Research published in March by Barclays found that one-in-seven small businesses in the U.K. had been a victim of invoice fraud in the last year.