Indian American woman embezzled $34 mn for ‘wild shopping sprees’

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Thursday, November 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - Indian American Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva, a former executive of Koss Corp has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for embezzling $34 million from the Milwaukee stereo headphone manufacturer for “wild shopping sprees”.

US District Judge Lynn Adelman imposed the sentence Wednesday after Sachdeva made a tearful statement - her first public comments since her arrest 11 months ago, local journal Sentinel reported.

“I stand before you today truly remorseful. You have been my family, my friends and my co-workers for many years. I know you have been deeply hurt by my dishonesty in ways I never intended,” Sachdeva was quoted as saying.

She was not taken directly to prison; she will remain free while she gives testimony in lawsuits related to the embezzlement.

Sachdeva’s husband, Ramesh Sachdeva, a physician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, filed for divorce Friday in Ozaukee County.

Sachdeva spent nearly all of the $34 million on wild shopping sprees in which she would buy the same luxury clothing items in multiple sizes and colours and never wear them.

She also bought shoes, purses, art, vacations, a Mercedes Benz and improvements to her Mequon home, and she paid for servants and limo service with Koss money.

Her attorneys said the binge spending stemmed from a shopping disorder. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder that prompted the sprees, and also is an alcoholic, according to documents disclosed in court Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of 15 to 20 years, while Sachdeva’s lawyer argued for six or seven years, citing her compulsive shopping disorder.

Adelman said the sentence sought by Sachdeva was “simply not long enough” given the size of the theft and abuse of trust.

“This is a case where she just stole a lot of money. The loss amount is what makes this so serious,” Adelman said.

Sachdeva will serve her term in Dublin Federal Prison in Alameda County in California. Her attorneys requested that location because it’s close to where her parents live and her two children will move there.

The children, ages 10 and 12, were sent this year to live with relatives in Detroit to shield them from the publicity surrounding the case.

Adelman also ordered Sachdeva to make restitution of the $34 million, at a rate of $500 per month.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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