SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The former CEO of a company that was sold to San Diego’s Qualcomm for more than $150 million — which prosecutors allege was part of a fraudulent scheme involving one of Qualcomm’s former employees — pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal money laundering charge.
Sanjiv Taneja, 60, of Cupertino, was charged last year along with three others for their roles in allegedly selling a microchip technology start-up known as Abreezio to the San Diego tech giant.
Though their sales pitch represented that the technology was invented by a Canadian grad student, prosecutors said it was not disclosed that the student was related to one of the defendants, Karim Arabi, who was working as a vice president of research and development at Qualcomm while creating the technology at issue.
Prosecutors said Arabi’s employment agreements held that inventions he created would belong to Qualcomm, so the defendants hid his involvement with Abreezio.
Taneja’s plea agreement indicates he was actively involved in obscuring Arabi’s connection to Abreezio. Once Qualcomm began investigating the transaction, Arabi told Taneja to delete their email correspondences, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Prosecutors say the defendants laundered the money they received from the Abreezio sale through foreign real estate purchases and interest-free loans.
Taneja is slated to be sentenced in October, while Arabi and other defendants remain charged.