SACRAMENTO – On Friday, July 7, 2017, two Sutter County women, Harjit Kaur Johal, 50, and Jasvir Kaur, 47, were each sentenced to two years in prison for making false statements under oath before a grand jury about their role in a massive unemployment and disability fraud scheme. The scheme was organized by the Khan family and defrauded the California Employment Development Department of more than $14 million. To date, 26 people have been convicted of various offenses related to the schemes.
Johal and Kaur purchased fraudulent paystubs from the Khan family’s farm labor contracting business which reported false wages for them to the Employment Development Department. The pair then filed for unemployment benefits based upon the fictitious wages. After subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the scheme, Johal and Kaur falsely testified that they had picked peaches for Ray Khan and that they did not commit fraud. Evidence at a trial showed the defendants had reported chronic back and knee problems in prior disability claims with EDD and were not capable of doing the physically intensive work required for peach picking. Both defendants had participated in previous fraud schemes with other Khan family members and had already claimed benefits in excess of $30,000 each.
“This was a massive case with many defendants and required the careful and intense investigative work by law enforcement officers in state and federal agencies including the Employment Development Department – Criminal Investigations,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the Khans reported wages for more than 400 people that resulted in more than 2,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment and disability benefits.