A one-time high-flying tech CEO will spend more than years behind bars for a years-long fraud scheme in which he posed as his deceased uncle in order to fraudulently obtain services from his own company.
Suni Munshani, 61, was the CEO of Protegrity from 2011 to 2019. The tech firm provides data security services to clients, but according to prosecutors, the firm was not safe from its own leader: Munshani was accused in April 2022 of bilking the company out of millions during his time at the helm of the firm.
“Within six months of his appointment as CEO, Munshani and others began an approximately nine-year scheme to defraud the Victim Company,” the Justice Department said in a press release Monday, which did not identify Protegrity by name.
According to the press release, Munshani “created an email account in the name of his deceased uncle but controlled by Munshani.”
Posing as his uncle, Munshani “used that email account to correspond with the Victim Company and to obtain payments from the Victim Company totaling at least approximately $3 million dollars for services that were never provided,” the DOJ press release said. “These purported services were falsely represented to have been rendered by the uncle as well as others, including a marketing executive who had met Munshani in social settings but had never worked for Munshani or the Victim Company and had no idea his identity was being used by Munshani.”
Munshani also had Protegrity issue a $3.5 million check for a “purported tax liability, which check Munshani then deposited into an unauthorized bank account created by Munshani in the name of the Victim Company,” according to the DOJ.
Munshani also engaged in “fraudulent licensing and reseller agreements” between two other companies, identified only as the “Licensing Company” and the “Reseller Company” in court documents, according to the DOJ.
“Among other things, Munshani instructed another individual to set up the Reseller Company ‘in the same way as [the Licensing Company],’ and then helped create and submit fraudulent invoices from the Reseller Company to the Victim Company,” the DOJ’s press release says.
Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sentenced Munshani to 3 1/2 years behind bars and three years of supervised release.
The sentence hews closer to the government’s request of five years in prison — the statutory maximum — than to Munshani’s request of 18 months followed by two years of supervised release. Munshani had also agreed to pay more than $10 million in restitution, although Rakoff, a Bill Clinton appointee, delayed issuing an official ruling on that issue.
“Suni Munshani believed that he could ransack a company that had put its trust in him,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in the press release. “He lied for years — even impersonating his deceased uncle — to steal from an organization he was supposed to lead.”
“His sentence shows once again that crime doesn’t pay,” Williams added.
Munshani’s brother, Suresh Munshani, was also charged in the scheme. According to court records, a jury convicted him in February of one count each of wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy, both of which carry a potential 20 years behind bars. He is expected to be sentenced on May 10.
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