Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Vinmar Intl.


HOUSTON: A 52-year-old Woodlands resident, Kavita Nehendra Duvvuru, plead guilty on Wednesday, October 11 to one count of wire fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. She had been charged on Wednesday, June 7 with defrauding her former employer, Vinmar International, of more than $1.5 million while working for the president of the firm, Hemant Goradia.

Vinmar International is a global petrochemical, marketing and distribution firm located in Houston. It was established 39 years ago in 1978 and has 30 offices serving more than 100 countries with estimated annual revenues of over $5 billion. The firm was started in the Queens, New York apartment of founder Vijay Goradia, who is a well-known philanthropist among the Indian community both locally and nationwide.

Duvvuru began employment with the Houston petrochemical distribution and marketing company Vinmar in 2004. Vinmar paid the balances on several credit cards issued in the name of Vinmar’s president and another officer of Vinmar on a monthly basis. These credit cards included an American Express Plum card and two MasterCards and were used to charge Vinmar’s business expenses. Duvvuru had credit cards issued in her name on those accounts as well, but was only authorized to charge Vinmar business expenses.

Duvvuru said she made unauthorized charges and cash advances for personal expenses on credit cards that were supposed to be used for business. She began making unauthorized charges in 2010 for personal expenses on the American Express Plum credit card. The unauthorized charges eventually reached between $10,000 and $20,000 per month, according to the release. She also obtained unauthorized cash advances from the MasterCard credit cards, which she used to pay on her property taxes and make college tuition payments for her children.

Duvvuru made a little over $22,000 in unauthorized personal charges in 2016 on the American Express Plum card. She later downloaded a copy of her credit card statement and used a software program to conceal her unauthorized personal charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said she also added a false charge for the same amount and attributed it to a company vendor.  Duvvuru also created false entries on her account to make it appear as if it was legitimate company expense. She eventually submitted the false entries to her company’s accounting department.  As a result of the woman’s scheme, the company lost at least $2.5 million.

Duvvuru will be sentenced in January 2018 and faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000. The woman will remain free on bond pending her hearing. The criminal information also contains a notice of forfeiture. The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Braddock is prosecuting the case.