US firm names Noida-based IT consultancy in Rs 14 crore fraud

The Noida-based IT consultancy, which was tasked to build technology support for a US-based technology company and providing Indian engineers, allegedly defrauded it for almost a decade.

By PTI  
Saturday, November 17, 2018

The CEO of a US-based software company has alleged fraud to the tune of nearly Rs 14 crore by the owner of a Noida-based firm for almost a decade which was tasked to build technology support for it and providing Indian engineers, police said Friday.

The Noida-based firm's owner has been accused of fraudulently hiring inexperienced developers by forging their identities, experience and even employing ghost personnel while charging the American company heavily for the services including developing software which it further sold to other clients in the US from 2006 till 2015, they said.

Noida Police said they have launched probe after a complaint was made by San Francisco, California based Phill Alaph, Director and CEO of technology company Vsolay Inc. against Himanshu Khatri, who ran the IT consultancy My Mind Infotech Pvt Ltd in Sector-2 of Noida.

According to the FIR lodged at the Noida Sector-20 police station on November 14, he has also accused Khatri of yielding "extremely low quality" products because of these frauds which resulted in revenue and customer loss to the American firm.

Beginning in 2006, Alaph's company had come in to contact with Himanshu Khatri, who represented that he would hire individual software developers from India to build technology products for them. The process for engaging these individuals has been that their CVs, education credentials, experience were scrutinised by Khatri and after verification he would send them to the company along with a range of hourly compensation they expected to receive for their work, Alaph said.

"During the entire period of engagement, Khatri fraudulently misrepresented the true identities of the individuals as well as their experience and their compensation. He sent us forged CVs of the candidates after increasing their age and experience and in some cases after changing the names of the candidates and also sent us forged and photoshopped ID cards to substantiate the forged CVs," he said in the complaint.

He said that instead of experienced software engineers, Khatri had in place in nearly every case hired very inexperienced and junior persons but charged us for higher experienced persons.

"All this continued to happen from 2006 to 2015 when, in the end of the year 2015, I came to know that Khatri has been perpetrating a deep fraud beginning at the earliest part of the engagement." he said.

Alaph said Khatri had hired very junior developers at very low cost and hidden their identities, levels of experience and skills behind fraudulent identities, frauds names and fraud CVs.

He alleged that Khatri at times billed not only for individuals whose identities and experience were misrepresented but also falsified personnel who were not at all working for the firm and did not exist at all. Khatri also billed for persons who had left long before. In one case, after one senior developed left after approx six months of services while we continued to be billed for that person for more than three years at Rs 25 per hour.

"In the most recent billing, which have run close to $40,000 per month, we now know that his total outlay to the team has been less than $8,000 per month," Alaph said in the complaint.

Alaph said Khatri has misused a relationship of trust to successfully cheat his company into thinking that market rates for software developers in India had increased dramatically, year by year, beyond actual increases to further his "ill-gotten" gains.

"It is part of the investigation process to get closer to an estimate of how much Khatri had cheated us via this fraud, but it seems to be in the range of at least $2 million (approx Rs 13.8 crore), but likely more.

"The work performed by junior developers hired by Khatri has been of extremely low quality and their productivity has also been low. We have lost customer after customer due to malfunctioning products or features of products and our progress has been slow, for many years and incurred heavy losses in business," Alaph said.

I, being in the US could not come to India for lodging a criminal complaint against Khatri and others. Now I have come to know that he had also cheated some other US companies in the similar manner.

Police have initiated a probe into the case and the cyber wing has been roped in to assess the matter.

"The complaint has been on the quality of software. The complaint been registered and investigation launched. Our cyber wing is also on the job and gathering information. Further action will be taken depending on the nature of information that we get," Noida Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma told PTI.

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