Four former employees of Mohawk Industries Inc. have been indicted for allegedly defrauding the world's biggest floor covering manufacturer by using a consulting company to illegally charge for information technology services at inflated rates and for work that was never done.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Rome, Georgia, unsealed indictments Thursday charging eight counts of fraud against Mohawk's former global chief information officer and three other former Mohawk employees. Federal prosecutors accused the Mohawk IT workers of using a company they created, Meta Technology Platforms, to bill Mohawk for more than $3 million of outsourced IT work while concealing their ownership in the company.
"These defendants allegedly took advantage of their positions to advance personal interests at Mohawk's expense," U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a statement Friday. "We will prosecute those who abuse their positions of authority to steal from the employers who trust them."
Buchanan charged eight counts of wire fraud against Jana Kanyadan, the 53-year-old former global head of Mohawk's IT division who lives in Marietta, Georgia, and three other former Mohawk IT employees — Sivakumar Thiyagasamadram, 54, of Cumming, Georgia; Madhu Shivalingegowda, 38, of Acworth, Georgia, and Chintan Sandesara, 39, of Marietta, Georgia.
"The defendants submitted fraudulent invoices to Mohawk on behalf of Meta Tech for software that Meta Tech did not actually purchase or provide for Mohawk," Buchanan said in a 10-page indictment against the four former Mohawk workers.
In 2019, the Calhoun, Georgia-based Mohawk Industries launched a multi-year IT project and outsourced work for a major computer software project to IT consulting firms. Mohawk paid Meta Tech more than $1.8 million before learning its own employees controlled Meta Tech. Mohawk then terminated its relationship with the consulting company and dismissed the workers, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.
"These defendants allegedly violated the trust placed in them by their employer," Sean Burke, the assistant special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement Friday. "The FBI works hard to make sure greed like this doesn't pay off and those who commit fraud are held accountable."
Mohawk said it supported law enforcement officials throughout the investigation that resulted in the charges against Kanyadan and other former employees.
"Mohawk is confident that the justice system will properly resolve this matter and protect the interests of the company’s shareholders," company spokesman Robert Webb said in a statement Friday.