Ex-Takeda staffer's 'small hustle' ends with arrest and $2.3M fraud scheme charge
A former senior staffer at Takeda was arrested this week over an alleged scheme to defraud the company of about $2.3 million.
Priya Bhambi, a former employee in Takeda’s technology operations group, has been charged with wire fraud along with Samuel Montronde. The defendants, who live together in Boston, were accused of scheming via text message and using the stolen funds to buy a Mercedes-Benz, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Brendan Donlan.
“… I have put some wheels in motion to pursuit [sic] a small hustle, lol… You know how we talked about other types of work a few days ago? I basically found a seed and some seed $ for it. I can’t be the face of it though,” Bhambi texted Montronde last January, according to court documents.
The alleged ruse began when an unnamed person affiliated with Bhambi started a company in 2018 to provide information technology services to Takeda, according to the affidavit. While “it does not appear that Company 1 ever engaged in any actual business,” Takeda made about $300,000 worth of payments between August 2018 and December 2019, Donlan reported.
About two years after that company was dissolved, Montronde formed Evoluzione Consulting. Bhambi allegedly submitted a letter to Takeda claiming that the first company had been acquired by Evoluzione. Takeda made three payments of $460,000 each to Evoluzione between July and October 2022.
“We become millionaires and we retire babe,” Montronde texted Bhambi, according to the court documents. “If I get it right…dream home 2022 for us,” Bhambi said in a different text.
Both the plaintiffs’ and Bhambi’s attorney Aziza Hawthorne declined to comment to Endpoints News.
While the affidavit does not refer to Takeda by name, Bhambi’s LinkedIn page listed her as working at Takeda between 2017 and 2022, according to multiple reports. The LinkedIn account has since been removed.
When asked about the case, Takeda told Endpoints via email: “We are aware of the events and are working in full cooperation with the authorities. We cannot comment further since the investigation is ongoing.”
Bhambi was fired in November 2022 following an internal investigation, according to the court documents.