N.J. IT consultant convicted of multimillion-dollar kickback scheme

Shivanand Maharaj, an IT consultant from New Jersey, was convicted by a federal grand jury July 29 of running a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme in connection with an employee benefit plan.

Maharaj39, of Cresskill, New Jersey,  faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The jury found Maharaj guilty of honest services wire fraud, paying kickbacks in connection with an employee benefit plan, and conspiracy, following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl.

Maharaj’s co-conspirator, Enrico Rubano, a/k/a “Rick Rubano,” who was a director of information technology at a large union pension and health benefit fund (the “Funds”) plead guilty in connection with the same crimes shortly before trial.

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that for years Shivanand Maharaj bribed an insider at a pension and health fund to approve hundreds of invoices for IT work that was never done at all.

“He now stands rightly convicted for depriving hardworking individuals out of millions of dollars of health and retirement benefits,” Berman said.

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and evidence presented during the trial in Manhattan federal court, from 2009 through 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 at least 2009, and continuing through 2015, Maharaj and Rubano devised a scheme in which three different companies Maharaj owned or controlled, submitted to the Funds invoices for millions of dollars in IT 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 IT, approved these fraudulent invoices and received kickbacks from Maharaj who, by submitting hundreds of invoices and recruiting another co-conspirator to receive additional criminal proceeds, fraudulently received in excess of $2 million through this scheme.

Maharaj was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years; one count of giving kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan, which carries a maximum sentence of three years and conspiracy to give kickbacks to influence the operation of an employee benefit plan, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Maharaj will be sentenced by Judge Koeltl on Dec. 6.

Rubano, 50, of Tappan, New York, who engaged in additional kickback and fraud schemes with other co-conspirators, pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Rubano will be sentenced on Nov. 8.

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