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Former Koss Exec Charged With Embezzling $31M

Grand jury indicted a former executive of the headphone manufacturer on six charges Wednesday, accusing her of embezzling $31 million and buying lavish goods.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A grand jury indicted a former executive of Milwaukee-based Koss Corp. on six charges Wednesday, accusing her of embezzling $31 million from the headphone manufacturer and buying furs, purses, shoes, jewelry and airline tickets.

Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva, of Mequon was charged with six counts of wire fraud. The 46-year-old is Koss' former vice president of finance and principal accounting officer.

Her attorney, Michael F. Hart, said his client had a mental condition that fueled her alleged purchases and that she would be evaluated.

"This is not a case solely about greed," he said. "This is a case about mental illness and its wide-ranging effects."

In a statement, U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle, said the case was "one of the largest embezzlement cases ever brought in this district."

According to the indictment, Sachdeva authorized numerous wire transfers from Koss bank accounts to pay her credit card bills and fund numerous cashier's checks between at least January 2004 through last month.

She is accused of buying clothing, furs, art, purses, shoes, jewelry, automobiles, china, statues, hotels, airline tickets, and other travel expenses for herself and others. She also allegedly paid for home renovations and compensated people "providing personal services to her and her family," according to investigators.

The indictment said she sought to conceal her fraud by directing other Koss employees to make numerous fraudulent entries in Koss' books and records to make them appear as legitimate business transactions.

U.S. attorney's office spokesman, Dean Puschnig, said when she was arrested on Dec. 21 investigators only knew of $4.5 million missing but a subsequent investigation revealed more.

Sachdeva could face up to 120 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines and restitution if convicted. She would also have to give up her Mequon home, a 2007 Mercedes Benz, clothing, jewelry, art and other items.

A security officer who answered the phone at Koss Wednesday night said no one was available to comment.

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