Just Peachy

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Farm labor is hard, back-breaking work that often goes from sun up to sun down. There is a lot of bending, picking up and endurance involved, especially in some parts of the country where summer temperatures reach upwards of 100 degrees. Today ‘s “Fraud of the Day” reveals one case that is part of a broader $14 million scam involving unemployment and disability benefits.

Two women, who claimed to be peach pickers, testified at a six-day trial in front of a federal jury stating that they participated in a couple of unemployment and disability fraud schemes organized by members of the Khan family. (Great name for a fraudster family if you ask me. Khan‚Äcon‚Äget it?)

The Khan family ran several farm labor-contracting businesses that claimed to provide crop harvesting labor in two California counties. Their business also involved selling fraudulent paystubs to people like the two defendants in this case, then reporting false wages to the state ‘s Employment Development Department (EDD).

People (or fraudsters like these two)bought the fraudulent paystubs from the Khans (or cons)then filed for unemployment or disability benefits with the EDD based on the false wages that were reported. (These scam participants paid the Khans to report higher wages to the EDD because the amount of benefits paid is based upon the claimant ‘s prior earnings. Starting to get the big picture?) The two women filed multiple claims with the EDD stating that they were unable to work because of chronic back and knee problems.

The two defendants got into trouble when they claimed under oath before a federal grand jury that they picked peaches for the Khan family for at least eight hours a day, six days a week for three months in addition to performing other tasks. Another testimony from someone that knew the family employees revealed that the two women were not employees. (Uh oh. Not good to lie, especially while under oath and in front of a judge.) And unfortunately for these two, more evidence presented at the trial confirmed they had purchased paystubs from the Khan family so that they could claim the maximum amount possible for unemployment benefits. (It turns out that they had already claimed benefits worth more than $30,000 each.)

The 47-year-old and 50-year-old were found guilty of making false statements in front of a grand jury. The women, who are scheduled to be sentenced, face a maximum of five years in prison. This case was just one of many others involving the Khan family ‘s alleged fraud schemes. To date 26 individuals have been convicted of various offenses.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Two Indian American women found guilty of lying to a California Grand Jury in a $14 million benefits fraud scheme,” published by News India Times on March 24, 2017.

After a six-day trial, a federal jury in California found two Indian-American women guilty of making false statements before a grand jury in a case involving $14 million in unemployment and disability fraud.

Harjit Kaur Johal, 50, and Jasvir Kaur, 47, were found guilty March 24, of making false declarations before a grand jury, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip A. Talbert announced.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.