An accountant that had previously been found liable for misappropriating an estimate of $3 million USD of Deep Purple's money has been jailed for theft.
Dipak Rao had worked for two royalty companies run by Deep Purple between 1992 to 2014 and had reached director level in both companies during the '00s.
In 2017, Rao was identified for diverting "at least £2 million" straight into his own account. He had admitted to "borrowing" the money and had faced an 11-year disqualification from serving as a company director until 2028.
In a new article by SurreyLive, the 71-year-old thief had invested the money but lost it all in scamming schemes. He was then sentenced to six years and four months in jail at Guildford Crown Court and will serve at least half the term before up for parole. He was reported to have lost his home and all assets due to his illegal activities, totalling up to about $1 million. The band have said to have recovered no more of the lost income.
The discovery of the theft came to light after the passing of Tony Edwards, who used to manage the band during the early days in 2010. Two of Edwards children, who inherited their father's duties of the band's business, became suspicious of Rao concealing information. Legal actions were launched the minute he left the companies, which were recently liquidated.
“The stress that we have been under during this time is immeasurable,” said Edwards’ daughter, Abigail Flanigan. “He has devastated the legacy that my father spent his life building. This devastation was brought about by a man that we had known for years and trusted.”
[He was in] a moment of madness that kickstarted this entire awful affair - Rao's lawyer
Rao's lawyer argued that his client did not live a lavish lifestyle using the money but have been trapped in "a cycle of continued offending" while he tries to recover the lost money. He also described Rao's behaviour as "a moment of madness that kickstarted this entire awful affair." He adds, "His conduct is most accurately and fairly seen as the conduct of a foolish man who got out of his depth."
Rao pleaded guilty to two offences - fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property on 29th March.