SAN DIEGO — A former technology executive pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday for his participation in a $150 million fraud on the San Diego-based semi-conductor company Qualcomm, prosecutors said.

Sanjiv Taneja, the ex-CEO of tech firm Abreezio, which was sold to Qualcomm, admitted to one count of money laundering related to a $1.5 million transaction involving proceeds of the fraud on Qualcomm, Kelly Thornton with the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California said in a news release.

Taneja confessed that he, co-defendants Karim Arabi and Ali Akbar Shokouhi of San Diego and others schemed to hide Arabi’s involvement in Abreezio, according to his plea agreement.

“Arabi was a Qualcomm employee throughout the entire marketing period, and hiding his involvement in the firm and the development of its patented technology allowed Abreezio’s principals to claim that the company was an ‘angel-funded’ outside firm while disguising its true connections to Qualcomm,'” Thornton said. 

Taneja, of Cupertino, California, disclosed that he asked Arabi for performance numbers for Qualcomm’s existing technology in an attempt to improve Abreezio’s marketing pitch, while also calling Arabi by a different name in text messages to obscure Arabi’s involvement in Abreezio.

Court documents revealed that Qualcomm agreed to pay roughly $180 million for Abreezio. Qualcomm paid $150 million of the amount in cash in October 2015, according to prosecutors.

“Taneja acknowledged that he never actually met the purported creator of Abreezio’s core technologies, who is Arabi’s family member and was never involved in the company’s technical or strategic decision-making as far as Taneja knew,” Thornton said.

Arabi also directed Taneja to delete emails, which he was later able to recover, about the scheme once Qualcomm started investigating the Abreezio transaction, per Taneja’s plea agreement.

“Mr. Taneja was part of an elaborate conspiracy to steal tens of millions of dollars from a major technology company and a complex scheme to launder the proceeds,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles field office. “IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are experts at following the money through complex transactions and international movements, and we are committed to continued collaboration with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those who attempt to defraud people, businesses or both.”