Former Indian-American executive sentenced to 11 years

Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva, the company's former vice president of finance, had pleaded guilty to using company funds to pay her personal bills.

47-year-old Sachdeva admitted running up expensive bills at Milwaukee-area companies.
US District Judge Lynn Adelman imposed the sentence after Sachdeva made a tearful statement - her first public comments since her arrest 11 months ago.

Before being sentenced, Sachdeva apologised to her family, friends and former Koss colleagues."I know you were deeply hurt by my dishonesty in ways I never imagined or intended...I have lost everything that is dear to me, my marriage, my children, my career, my home and my freedom," she said.

Judge Adelman said that the sentence sought by Sachdeva was "simply not long enough" given the size of the theft and abuse of trust.

"This is a case where she just stole a lot of money. The loss amount is what makes this so serious," Adelman said and sentenced her to 11 years in prison.Sachdeva's attorney Michael F Hart said he felt the sentence was fair, and that his client agreed.Asked why she committed the crimes, Hart responded: "She's sick. There's no other way to say it.

In a statement filed with the court yesterday, Hart argued that Sachdeva is not a future danger to society, and that she has cooperated with investigators.

He asked Adelman to consider her circumstances and said the situation justified a departure from federal sentencing guidelines that put her offense at a high level because of the amount involved.

Sachdeva's theft from the company happened as the result of her desperation to pay her shopping bills, to keep her panic under control, Hart argued."In simple terms, she made the purchases first, then used Koss funds to pay for them in a catch-as-catch-can manner," he wrote.

Sachdeva did not keep track of the amounts, he said."She had all of her personal bills sent to the office, and just opening the bills would cause her to go gaga, break into a heavy sweat and have trouble breathing," Hart wrote.

Sachdeva was put on the anti-depressant Prozac for her mental problems in 2009, Hart said.During that year, her spending and theft accelerated to the point where she took USD 5 million from the company in the three months before her arrest.

"When she was arrested in December 2009, it came as a genuine relief," Hart wrote.
Hart also places some of the blame for the phony accounting on Koss' books to Sachdeva's former assistant Julie Mulvaney.

"During pre-audit periods, Mulvaney would work independently and without direct supervision to reconcile the company's ledgers with the available cash, and only minimally shared her methods with Sachdeva," Hart wrote.

Sachdeva's husband, Ramesh Sachdeva, is a physician at Children's Hospital.
Michael Koss, chairman and CEO of Koss Company said Sachdeva's theft caused the company to suffer severely. They were forced to cut profit sharing and pay for employees.

Koss is suing its former auditor, Grant Thornton, saying the accounting firm should have caught the fraud.

Koss has also filed suit against American Express, alleging that the credit card company knew that Sachdeva was using Koss money to pay her bills, but waited for six months to notify Koss of the fraud.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has seized more the 22,000 items that Sachdeva bought with Koss money.An auction house in Texas is preparing to auction the merchandise. Proceeds will go to Koss to make up for its loss

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