A federal grand jury had indicted former Tesla purchasing manager, Salil Parulekar, for operating a $9.3 million embezzlement scheme. In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
1. Mr. Parulekar, part of Tesla’s supply management group, was in charge of Tesla’s relationships with certain suppliers
2. Tesla had ended its relationship with supplier, Schwabische Huttenwerke, in 2016.
Tesla’s new supplier was Hota Industrial Manufacturing.
3. During 2016 and 2017, Hota’s payments went to Schwabische.
4. Mr. Parulekar was able to funnel the $9.3 million to Schwabische by stealing a Hota employee’s identity and switching the bank account information.
5. Mr. Parulekar then falsified documents showing that Hota had been paid.
It is not clear how or if Mr. Parulekar benefited from the deal, and he is not returning calls. Neither is anyone from Schwabische.
One must never assume, for there are always human running companies and their supply chains. The foolproof method of direct bank deposits is not so foolproof. The lapse in internal controls here (and the new chairman of Tesla may want to chat with audit about this) is that there was no check on the person supplying the bank information for the direct deposit. The direct deposit method is only as solid as the person who gave you the information, or if that person really did give you the information.