Red Bluff,CA(WorkCompAcademy) - A former Red Bluff City Councilman who pleaded guilty in November to four felonies was sentenced Thursday to a five-year, eight-month suspended prison sentence and placed on probation for five years. The Record Searchlight reported that the 44-year-old Suren Patel, who faced a maximum seven-year, eight-month sentence, pleaded guilty tin November to workers' compensation fraud, grand theft and two counts of public officer crime.
Under the sentence handed down Thursday, Patel will have to serve 364 days in jail, minus 120 days of custody credits, do 80 hours of community service and pay more than $12,500 in restitution. If he violates his parole, he faces nearly eight years in prison.
Tehama County Superior Court Judge Matthew C. McGlynn, who labeled Patel a thief who has shown no remorse for his crimes, imposed the suspended sentence as recommended by probation officials.
After court, Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen, who argued that Patel deserved a prison sentence, said he was "disappointed" in the ruling because Patel violated his position of public trust as a Red Bluff City Councilman and should go to prison. "He certainly deserved it," he said.
Patel entered his guilty pleas on Nov. 17, but did so without being guaranteed a stipulated sentence, said 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.
Cohen has said Patel had been the subject of an investigation that started in 2015 that culminated in his July 2016 arrest in Florida.
Patel, the former owner of the American Best Valley Inn in Red Bluff, was arrested as he tried to board a plane, Cohen has said.
Among charges Patel faced were theft, not paying taxes to the city and fraud. Cohen said Patel did not pay taxes he owed to the city as owner of the American Best Valley Inn. He was investigated for embezzlement in connection to a complaint filed by a guest at the hotel who said her credit card was charged $6,000 after she stayed there, Cohen said. Restitution has been made in her case, he said.
Authorities opened the investigation against Patel in March 2015 and that May the District Attorney's Office took computers, cell phones and business records from the hotel.
During the investigation, the DA's Office learned Patel had not paid workers' compensation insurance and was committing welfare fraud by getting two employees benefits, Cohen has said.
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