An Ohio millionaire has been indicted on charges that he illegally received food stamps and Medicaid assistance.
Ali Pascal Mahvi is facing four felony counts, which could put him in jail for more than four years if convicted, WKYC reported.
“I absolutely believe he should serve time behind bars,” said James Flaiz, the Geauga County prosecutor.
Prosecutors say Mahvi illegally collected $45,000 in Medicaid benefits and about $8,400 in food stamps, although Mahvi maintains his innocence.
Investigators raided Mahvi’s home in September for evidence that he collected food stamps and received Medicaid benefits while having millions of dollars in his bank account.
Mahvi, who claims that he has ties to Iranian royalty and owns 70 percent of a resort in St. Lucia, estimates his worth at about $120 million.
His $800,000 home features five bedrooms and five bathrooms, an in-ground swimming pool, a stable with horses, and sports cars parked in the four-car garage.
Mahvi says he lives off loans from friends, which he argues is not considered income to qualify for food stamps.
Flaiz says the investigation tells a different story. “Through our investigation, we found they were actual investments and were not loans,” Flaiz states. “There were actually hundreds of thousands of dollars of what he was calling loans that we discovered he never declared.”
Mahvi asserts the criminal allegations hampered his efforts to sell airplane parts to Iran: “I worked really hard to get Iran to buy Boeing and I lost that because of this, these allegations.”
He vows he and his lawyer will fight the charges next month when he is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment.
Mahvi has also claimed in the past that he is friends with people in high places, including President-elect Donald Trump. When asked if he would get Trump’s help, he replied, “No comment.”