An Indian American councilman from Red Bluff, California, has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison and will be placed on probation for five years, for a crime he pleaded guilty to in November 2017.
According to a Record Searchlight report, Suren Patel, 44, pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud, grand theft and two counts of public officer crime in November when he was to face a maximum sentence of seven years and eight months in prison.
In addition to the prison sentence, Patel will have to complete 80 hours of community service and pay more than $12,500 in restitution.
If he violates his parole, he could face up to eight years in prison, according to a Record Searchlight report.
Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen told Record Searchlight that he was “disappointed” in the ruling because Patel had violated his position of public trust as a councilman and should just be going to prison.
According to Tehama County Assistant District Attorney Matt Rogers, Patel was originally charged with seven criminal counts that included perjury, elder theft, and conspiracy to commit a crime, adding that he had also been the subject of an investigation which in 2015 and ended with his July 2016 arrest in Florida.
Patel is the former owner of the American Best Valley Inn in Red Bluff, who did not pay his taxes to the city and was arrested while he was trying to board a plane Record Searchlight.
He was also investigated for embezzlement in connection to a complaint filed by a guest at the hotel who said her credit card was charged for $6,000 after she stayed there, the report added.
Authorities opened up the investigation against Patel in March 2015 during which the District Attorney’s Office found that Patel had not paid workers’ compensation insurance and was committing welfare fraud by getting two employees benefits.