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Former Outcome Health executive pleads guilty to charges for alleged role in $1 billion fraud scheme

Ally Marotti, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

CHICAGO -- Former Outcome Health executive Ashik Desai pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud charges for his alleged role in a nearly $1 billion fraud scheme at the Chicago-based company.

Desai was released on condition of bond after his federal court appearance in Chicago, and surrendered his passport Desai, now 26, served as Outcome's executive vice president of business growth and analytics. He was charged last month.

Outcome, once a beacon in Chicago's tech scene, installs screens in doctor's offices and waiting rooms that combine health information with drug advertising. The company gained widespread attention in 2017 when it secured funding from big-name investors and rose to a valuation of about $5.5 billion, a number unmatched among Chicago tech companies.

Now Desai, along with former executives Rishi Shah, Shradha Agarwal and Brad Purdy, face a combined 26 counts of fraud. The most serious charges carry up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

"When I was at Outcome Health, there were practices going on there that were wrong," Desai said during his court appearance Monday. "I participated in those practices that ended up defrauding Outcome's customers."

The charges allege the former executives ran a massive fraud scheme that brought in $487.5 million in financing, a $110 million loan and a $375 million loan, amounting to nearly $1 billion. The indictment also alleges the executives lied to clients and billed them millions of dollars for ads that never ran.

Two employees who worked under Desai, Kathryn Choi and Oliver Han, also were charged last month with felony conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a criminal information.

 

Choi, 29, and Han, 29, pleaded not guilty last week in federal court in Chicago, and were released on condition of bond. The maximum term of imprisonment for the charge is five years if convicted.

Purdy, now 30, held various roles including chief financial officer and chief operating officer until he left Outcome Health in early 2018. He is set to appear in federal court Monday afternoon.

Former CEO Shah, now 33, and former president Agarwal, now 34, are set to appear in court Dec. 16.

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