Criminal Justice News

Friday, May 11, 2012

Six Sutter County Defendants Indicted for Benefit Fraud Scheme

SACRAMENTO—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a federal grand jury returned a 19-count indictment charging Mohammad Nawaz Khan, 56; Mohammad Adnan Khan, 32; Iqila Begum Khan, 31, all of Live Oak; and Mohammad Shahbaz Khan, 56; Gurdev Kaur Johl, 67; and Kewal Singh, 74, all of Yuba City, with defrauding the state of California of more than $5 million. This investigation is ongoing to determine the full extent of the fraud.

According to the indictment, the defendants sold paystubs to other individuals that falsely showed those individuals had been paid wages by a company controlled by the defendants. The buyer would then use that paystub to file for unemployment benefits, disability benefits, or both. The defendants generally charged $250 for every $1,000 in wages. Over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants reported wages for over 400 separate individuals that resulted in more than 2,000 fraudulent claims.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on May 15, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Mohammad Nawaz Khan has been detained pending trial as a flight risk. The other defendants have been released on bond.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and the Investigation Division of the California Employment Development Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Jared C. Dolan and Kevin C. Khasigian are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined after conviction at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations. Each of the defendants listed is presumed innocent, unless and until proven guilty.

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