Ranjeet paladugu

Irvine, Calif.-based executive Ranjeet Paladugu. (Orange County District Attorney’s Office photo)

A cosmetics company executive in Southern California has been charged with transferring more than $1 million in company funds into his personal accounts, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Indian American Ranjeet Reddy Paladugu, the vice president of finance for Urban Decay, was charged Dec. 7 with felony grand theft and money laundering, as well as sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime and property loss of more than $200,000, the attorney’s office said in a news release.

Prosecutors allege that the 40-year-old Irvine resident set up fictitious business accounts at various banks, using names similar to those of Urban Decay’s business partners.

According to the district attorney’s office, in mid-July Paladugu authorized a $598,500 transfer from Urban Decay to one of the fictitious business accounts, then to his own personal bank account. A second transfer of the same amount was authorized shortly thereafter by Paladugu from Urban Decay to a different fictitious company, said the district attorney’s office.

Weeks later, Paladugu is suspected of wiring the money back from the second transaction into an Urban Decay account, according to the DA’s office.

A bank noticed what they believed to be suspicious activity, and alerted Urban Decay’s corporate security, the news release said. Authorities were notified and arrested the Indian American Dec. 5. If convicted, Paladugu faces up to 13 years and four months in prison. He was being held on $1.2 million bail, according to the district attorney’s office.

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