Feds hunt for ex-worker Abdi in $9 million theft..

Halkaan ka akhri

A former water-company employee is being sought on a federal warrant on charges that he fled the country after wiring $9 million into overseas bank accounts on the same day he resigned, court records show.

Abdirahman Ismail Abdi, who turns 33 on Monday, was named in a warrant alleging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. He also faces charges of grand theft and unauthorized computer access in Santa Clara County.

Abdi resigned April 27 from his job at California Water Service Co. in San Jose. That evening, a janitor spotted Abdi using his electronic key card to get into the company’s parking lot, authorities said.

At about 11 p.m., the same janitor saw Abdi sitting inside a colleague’s office. Over the course of six hours, authorities believe, he used a computer in that office to send three wire transfers totaling $9.2 million into bank accounts in Qatar.

When Abdi saw the janitor, he “got up from the desk and appeared to try to hide in a darkened corner of the office,” Deputy District Attorney Christine Garcia wrote in court papers.

The transactions were later flagged as suspicious, authorities said, and the money was returned to Cal Water. The company is a privately owned water utility with 460,000 customers in California.

The next day, Abdi dropped off his wife and two young children to San Francisco International Airport, where the three boarded a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, FBI Special Agent David Brown wrote in an affidavit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

On April 30, San Jose police served a search warrant at Abdi’s home. A friend living there said he had just talked to Abdi on the phone, but when officers got on the line, Abdi hung up, investigators said.

Abdi disconnected his cell phone and fled to Canada, where he activated a new phone, authorities said.

Abdi apparently was in the United States illegally. He is not a U.S. citizen and was ordered deported to Somalia in 2005, records show.

Sourse San Francisco Chronicle


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