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Press Release

Second Executive Admits Participating in $150 Million Fraud on Qualcomm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – October 5, 2023

SAN DIEGO – Ali Akbar Shokouhi, the primary investor of a technology company sold to Qualcomm for over $150 million, pleaded guilty in federal court today, admitting his role in a massive fraud.

Shokouhi, a San Diego resident, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering related to a transaction involving proceeds of the fraud on Qualcomm. In his plea agreement, Shokouhi admitted that he schemed with co-defendant Karim Arabi and others to hide both Arabi’s and Shokouhi’s involvement in Abreezio—the tech firm that they marketed to Qualcomm. 

Arabi was a Qualcomm employee throughout the entire marketing period, and hiding his involvement in the firm and the development of its patented technology allowed Abreezio’s principals to claim that the company was an “angel-funded” outside firm while disguising its true connections to Qualcomm.  In that regard, Shokouhi admitted Arabi was intimately involved in Abreezio’s formation, development, and marketing to Qualcomm, including choosing the “Abreezio” name.  Shokouhi further admitted that he referred to Arabi by a different name in text messages with co-conspirators to obscure Arabi’s involvement in Abreezio.  According to court documents, Qualcomm agreed to pay roughly $180 million for Abreezio—$150 million of which was paid in October 2015. 

Like co-defendant Sanjiv Taneja, who recently pleaded guilty and admitted his own role in the fraud, Shokouhi acknowledged that he never actually met the purported creator of Abreezio’s core technologies, who is Arabi’s family member and was never involved in the company’s technical or strategic decision-making as far as Shokouhi knew.

Shokouhi further admitted that he and Arabi concealed Shokouhi’s involvement in Abreezio in part because Shokouhi had previously been terminated from Qualcomm because of a conflict-of-interest violation.  As part of his plea agreement, Shokouhi agreed to forfeit over $16 million that he personally received from Qualcomm’s purchase of Abreezio, and to pay restitution.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas W. Pilchak, Janaki G. Chopra and Eric R. Olah.

DEFENDANTS                                 Case Number 22-CR-1152-BAS                                       

Karim Arabi                                        Age: 57                                   San Diego, CA

Sanjiv Taneja                                      Age: 60                                   Cupertino, CA

Ali Akbar Shokouhi                            Age: 64                                   San Diego, CA


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internal Revenue Services, Criminal Investigation

United States Marshals Service

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or    

Updated October 5, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: CAS23-1005-Shokouhi