Due Diligence Could Have Saved FinTech from Prashant Bhardwaj. Here’s How.

Due Diligence Could Have Saved FinTech from Prashant Bhardwaj. Here’s How.

In early September, you might have caught a report in FinTech Business Weekly about the strange disappearance of Prashant Bhardwaj. Just seven months prior, Bhardwaj was hired by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as their first ever Chief Financial Technology Officer, which the publication reported came with a salary of $303,400 plus a hiring bonus. This prestigious hire was meant to help bolster the newly formed Office of Financial Technology, and no doubt, Bhardwaj’s “nearly 30 years of experience” within fintech would have served as a testament to the credibility of the new organization.

So where did Prashant Bhardwaj go? Or more importantly, who is Prashant Bhardwaj?

One thing is for certain, Bhardwaj is not the man he claimed to be in his resume. For starters, the MBA he noted on his resume was from an unaccredited diploma mill. His LinkedIn is in fact littered with lies, including a then-current role as Managing Director at Accenture (he worked at Accenture but in a much more junior capacity and for less than a year), a stint as SVP at a company that may not even be legitimate, and senior roles at two publicly-traded and OCC-regulated banks. In proxy filings from both of those banks, Bhardwaj’s name is not listed as Digital Transformation Officer or Chief Innovation Officer (his two alleged job titles). Even before these more senior roles, he included a job history from P&G, Deloitte, and Citi Bank, the latter of which would have only been accurate if he’d started his career at Citi when he was 13 years old.

If you’re reading the above and wondering if his LinkedIn was all lies, there was one truth. Fintech Business Weekly confirmed his Masters of Science in Business Administration/Accounting from University of Cincinnati was real. That said, while his resume and LinkedIn claimed he was a CPA, CPA license records show no evidence that this claim is accurate.

Aside from Bhardwaj’s professional history, his criminal history was far from perfect. He had several traffic offenses, but more egregiously, three DUIs (including one from just this past July). A further investigation from court records raised more red flags, including a restraining order from his ex-wife and allegations of both child and domestic abuse. No further information is available on those allegations as the court records have been sealed.

Had the OCC leveraged Intelligo’s due diligence platform, they would have uncovered Bhardwaj’s adverse past prior to hiring him. An automated report would have raised many of these issues – including the criminal history and discrepancies in employment history – and our thorough analyst reports could have further vetted his erroneous claims of degrees he did not hold. While this scam engineered by Bhardwaj is an indictment on his own character, it’s also an embarrassing mishap for the OCC, an organization whose credibility and trust is at the core of its very existence. What’s more, it was entirely avoidable with just one fast due diligence report.

A current search for Prashant Bhardwaj on LinkedIn yields no results for the ex-OCC employee.

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