EUGENE, Ore. – Parthava Behesht Nejad, 82, of Springfield, Oregon, was sentenced today to five years probation for concealing income in order to qualify for welfare benefits. Nejad was also ordered to pay more than $309,000 in restitution and forfeiture and must complete 300 hours of community service.
According to court documents and trial testimony, federal agents began investigating Nejad in 2013 after social workers discovered he was the landlord for numerous people receiving disability benefits. Investigators determined that Nejad owned eight rental properties in north Springfield worth more than $600,000. Nejad acquired the properties and transferred them to his foundation, Parthava Behesht Nejad International Foundation, prior to applying for welfare benefits in 2003.
For more than a decade, Nejad claimed he had no income or assets and had only one bank account containing a few hundred dollars. In reality, Nejad’s properties generated substantial income and he had a bank account that at times contained more than $30,000. He told the IRS and others that his foundation, incorporated in Oregon in 1986, was a church and provided temporary housing for victims of religious persecution.
In total, Nejad collected more than $154,000 in Supplement Security Income (SSI), food stamps, and Medicaid benefits between November 2003 and July 2014.
A federal jury convicted Nejad on one count of wire fraud and three counts of theft of government money on March 9, 2017.
This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Investigation and the Oregon Department of Human Services. It was prosecuted by Helen Cooper and Amy Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.