An Ohio millionaire descended from Iranian royalty was indicted for welfare fraud Tuesday, after prosecutors allege he bilked Medicare for $45,000 and received $8,400 in food stamps benefits.
The 65-year-old Ali Pascal Mahvi insists he is innocent of fraud, but prosecutors say that if convicted, he could spend more than four years in prison.
“I absolutely believe he should serve time behind bars,” James Flaiz, prosecutor for Geauga County, Ohio, told NBC affiliate WKYC.
While Mahvi admits he’s worth around $120 million through various real estate holdings, including a 70 percent stake in a St. Lucia resort and an 800-square-foot house with a pool and stables in an affluent Cleveland, Ohio, suburb, he says his family has subsisted on loans from friends for the past several years.
Geauga County prosecutors went through Mahvi’s financial records after raiding his house Sept. 2, and believe the loans are investments. “Through our investigation, we found they were actual investments and were not loans,” Flaiz said. “There were actually hundreds of thousands of dollars of what he was calling loans that we discovered he never declared.”
Authorities connected Mahvi to a $4.2 million Swiss bank account, but Mahvi says that account belonged to his father, Abolfath Mirza Mahvi, a member of Iranian royalty and founder of several international businesses.
Mahvi pays a $4,600 mortgage each month, a $567 cell phone bill, $200 in restaurant meals and $350 for cable TV. They claimed zero income on their Medicaid applications, however, and received about $300 per month for the past two years in food stamps.
Mahvi says he knows many influential Americans, including President-elect Donald Trump. (RELATED: Millionaire On Food Stamps Claims To Be Besties With Trump)
“I know Trump,” he told local NBC affiliate WCNC. “I’ve had lunch with him many times and I have many other friends in high places. But I’m innocent. I don’t need their help.”
Mahvi even claimed to be influential in lobbying for a deal to sell Boeing airplanes to Iran after the easing of sanctions under President Barack Obama.
“I worked really hard to get Iran to buy Boeing and I lost that because of this, these allegations,” Mahvi said.
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