Engineering company owner Hady Zehtabzadeh was charged this week in federal court with conspiracy to commit wire fraud after allegedly working with a Ford Motor Co. manager in a kickback scheme.
Between 2005-2011, Zehtabzadeh and the unindicted Ford manager — identified as “S.K.” — partnered to give engineering work to Ford vendors only if they agreed to hire Zehtabzadeh’s company, Superior Engineering Inc.
According to court documents, the third-party vendors were led to believe they would not be hired by Ford unless they entered into separate contracts with Superior and pay it a portion of the profits they earned from Ford. Zehtabzadeh would then kickback some of the profits to the Ford manager.
During the seven years, Zehtabzadeh made more than $400,000. Court documents did not say how much “S.K.” was given.
Ford would pay the vendors through wire transfers to locations outside Michigan. In some instances, no work was ever done by the vendors.
“S.K.” held a management position within Ford’s Powertrain Product Development division, which was later renamed Digital Innovations.
Ford on Friday said it cannot comment on pending litigation.
“We can confirm that the individuals are no longer with Ford,” the automaker said in a statement. “We are cooperating with the authorities on this case.”
Zehtabzadeh is expected to plead guilty.