Cracking down on welfare fraud is generally a top priority for conservatives, who favor a frugal use of taxpayer money. But the most recent case of welfare fraud to capture the public’s attention is far from typical.
According to Breitbart, an Ohio man now nicknamed the “Food Stamp Billionaire” has been found guilty of collecting Medicaid benefits and $8,300 worth of food stamps–despite having millions of dollars in the bank.
As reported by KSDK, Ali Pascal Mahvi is the son of Abolfath Mirza Mahvi, an Indian prince and founder of M. Group Resorts. The Russell Township, Ohio resident leads a life of extreme luxury–yet has been using food stamps and Medicaid for himself, his wife, and his three adult children.
On Friday, a court found Mahvi guilty of a fifth-degree felony charge for his fraudulent claiming of food stamps and a misdemeanor charge of falsifying his Medicaid application for two years.
Prosecutors say the 66-year-old millionaire faces a possible prison sentence of up to 18 months. He may also be required to pay restitution for the benefits he has received. A judge will hand out a sentence in four to six weeks.
Prosecutor James Flaiz says he is pushing for jail time. “We’re absolutely going to recommend time behind bars. I think people have to understand, if you abuse the system that taxpayers have set up to help the poor, and you defraud that system, there needs to be consequences.”
Mahvi is the last person most people would picture when they hear the phrase “food stamps recipient.” The businessman lives in an 8,000 square foot home worth more than $800,000.
The millionaire’s house is complete with horses in a private stable and an in-ground swimming pool. Police found a Lexus and a BMW parked in Mahvi’s four-car garage. By all appearances, he is doing quite well for someone on food stamps.
Mahvi is a resort developer credited with the Jalouise Plantation Resort and the Jalouise Enclave–a UNESCO world heritage site. He has also published a book titled Deadly Secrets of Iranian Princes – Audacity to Act. Mahvi describes his literary work as being “about my experiences in Iran and the Shah’s aspirations to be a nuclear power.”
The developer’s friends describe him as “an amazing and talented visionary and entrepreneur. He is the epitome of a consummate professional and embraces those around him with a contagiously charming and inviting personality.” Despite all this success, Mahvi claims he is poor. According to WKYC, he lives off of donations from his friends–even though he owns 70 percent of his St. Lucia resort.
Mahvi argues he didn’t break the law because his house and other properties don’t disqualify him from federal benefits. But after a raid of Mahvi’s home last year, investigators discovered that the “donations from friends” weren’t donations at all, but investments. Ultimately, the law was against the Iranian businessman.
Interestingly, Mahvi also claims to be good friends with President Donald Trump. When asked if the commander-in-chief would be helping him, Mahvi flatly replied “No comment.”