Man accused of stealing $11 million from his local employer by creating business with similar name, diverting customers

A man is accused of setting up a company with a similar name, and then diverting customers to that new company.

His attorney says the charges are unfounded, and called it lawful competition with a former business partner.

Santhosh Madhavan is charged with the theft of $11 million from Indocarb, a company based in India that manufactures carbon to treat water.

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Madhavan worked for the company and was sent to Pittsburgh to run the U.S. division. According to the criminal complaint, investigators say he opened another company with a similar name and funneled customers to that company.

Attorney Mike Deriso represents the parent company in India.

“He trademarked the Indocarb name through a dummy company he created and registered, so he stole the name,” Deriso said.

Court records accuse him of “stealing trade secrets,” including customer lists, pricing information, production methodology and its website domain.

He is also charged with forgery, theft of trade secrets and unlawful use of a computer.

Madhavan declined to talk to us and said to contact his attorney. His attorney denied the allegations in an email:

“These charges come from a business competitor engaged in contentious litigation against Mr. Madhavan and his company. We intend to cooperate with authorities and vigorously defend to make clear that the charges are untrue and unfounded. In the meantime, Mr. Madhavan will not be deterred from lawful competition with his former business partners.”

The company had filed a civil lawsuit against Madhavan in federal court, but the district attorney has now filed criminal charges against Madhavan.

Madhavan was arraigned before a district justice and released on his own recognizance. He now faces a preliminary hearing on the theft charges.