Woman accused of embezzling $3 million

Some of the funds allegedly used to purchase Vineyard Haven house.

5
Shivani Patel, who allegedly embezzled $3 million, purchased this property at 100 Center Street in Vineyard Haven for $640,000 in 2015. –Gabrielle Mannino

A woman who allegedly embezzled $3 million from her Waltham-based employer used some of that money to buy a home in Vineyard Haven, according to court records.

Shivani Patel, 37, of Vineyard Haven, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of bank fraud in U.S. District Court in Boston.

According to an affidavit for Patel’s arrest, she served as an executive assistant to the chief financial officer of a Waltham-based technology company. The company is not named in the court records. Patel’s duties included “retrieving incoming mail containing customer checks made payable to her employer, recording the checks into the payment system, and depositing the checks into her employer’s bank account,” a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.

Between February 2012 and July 2017, Patel allegedly stole funds from her employer and used the funds to buy a car, as well as the Vineyard Haven house in 2015. She allegedly created a sham company with a similar name to her employer’s by adding an “s” to the end of the name, the affidavit states. Patel took checks made out to her sham company and deposited them into an account she set up at St. Mary’s Credit Union.

According to the affidavit, the company discovered discrepancies during a 2017 audit “that uncovered that a number of checks — despite appearing as paid in the billing system — could not be reconciled” in the company’s bank accounts.

“In total, Patel embezzled approximately $3,076,369 from her former employer,” Lelling’s release states.

Patel could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Patel has lived on the Vineyard since 2017. She continued to work for the company remotely, but was terminated on July 1, 2017, “for reasons unrelated to her theft,” the affidavit states.

Tisbury assessor records indicate Patel purchased a home at 100 Center St. for $640,000 in 2015.

A call to Patel’s home was not returned, and her attorney, Scott Lauer, could not be reached at his Boston office.