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Press Release

Tech Executive Admits Participating in $150 Million Fraud on Qualcomm

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

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 10, 2023

SAN DIEGO – Sanjiv Taneja, the former CEO of a technology company sold to Qualcomm for over $150 million, pleaded guilty in federal court today for his role in a massive fraud. 

Taneja of Cupertino, California, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering related to a $1.5 million transaction involving proceeds of the fraud on Qualcomm. In his plea agreement, Taneja admitted that he and co-defendants Karim Arabi, Ali Akbar Shokouhi, and others schemed to hide Arabi’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, Taneja admitted that he asked Arabi for performance numbers for Qualcomm’s existing technology to try to improve Abreezio’s marketing pitch, and that he even called Arabi by a different name in text messages 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 cash in October 2015. 

Taneja 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 Taneja knew. 

In his plea agreement, Taneja also admitted that Karim Arabi directed him to delete emails concerning the scheme once Qualcomm started investigating the Abreezio transaction, although Taneja was later able to recover the emails. 

“Fraud and deceit undermine legitimate businesses and the marketplace, whether they victimize small businesses or multinational corporations and their shareholders,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Haden.  “This office will seek justice against wrongdoers, big and small alike.”  

“Crimes like the one supported by Mr. Taneja and his co-conspirators threaten the economy at every level,” said FBI San Diego Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge Jamie Arnold. “The FBI is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure that every criminal taking part in corporate fraud is investigated and arrested.”

“Mr. Taneja was part of an elaborate conspiracy to steal tens of millions of dollars from a major technology company and a complex scheme to launder the proceeds,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles field office. “IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are experts at following the money through complex transactions and international movements, and we are committed to continued collaboration with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those who attempt to defraud people, businesses or both.”

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.


Assistant U. S. Attorneys Nicholas W. Pilchak, Janaki G. Chopra and Eric R. Olah

Updated August 10, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: CAS23-0810-Taneja