This week, it was announced that 82-year-old Parthava Behesht Nejad of Springfield, Oregon had been sentenced to five years of probation for concealing income in order to qualify for welfare benefits. The defendant has been ordered to pay more than $309,000 in restitution and complete 300 hours of community service. Court documents and trial testimony showed that federal agents started investing Nejad in 2013.
The investigation began after social workers found that he was the landlord of numerous people receiving disability benefits. It was determined that the defendant owned eight rental properties in Springfield worth more than $600,000. The defendant obtained the properties and transferred them to his foundation, Parthava Behesht Nejad International Foundation, before applying for welfare benefits in 2003. For more than a decade, the defendant claimed to have no income or assets and only one bank account containing a few hundred dollars.
In reality, the defendant’s properties generated substantial income and he had a bank account containing more than $30,000. He told the IRS and others that his foundation was a church and provided temporary housing for victims of religious persecution. In total, the defendant collected over $154,000 in SSI, food stamps and Medicaid benefits between November 2003 and July 2014. The defendant was convicted on one count of wire fraud and three counts of theft of government money on March 9, 2017. Additional details have been made available here.