19 June – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The United States Attorney’s Office announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco, California indicted Farinaz Bianca Zahrai, of Berkeley, California on June 15, 2005 with two counts of making false claims to the government and one count of making false statements.
According to the indictment, Ms. Zahrai, 36, an investigator with the Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, is alleged to have filed travel vouchers for reimbursement of travel, lodging and incidental expenses that she claimed to have incurred during her official duties, when she was actually taking the California Bar Exam on the days in question. When confronted with her fraudulent travel vouchers, Ms. Zahrai is alleged to have made false statements to special agents of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General.
Ms. Zahrai was arrested at her home in Berkeley, California and made her initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco today. She was released today on $50,000 bond. The defendant’s next scheduled appearance is at 2:30 p.m. on June 29, 2005 for trial setting, before Judge Maxine M. Chesney.
The maximum statutory penalty for each of the three counts in the indictment (two counts of false claims in violation of Title 18, United States Code, § 287 and one count of false statements in violation of Title 18, United States Code § 1001(a)(2) is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. 3553. An indictment only contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Ms. Zahrai must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Special Agents Alfredo Nodal and Theodora Malone of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General. Candace Kelly is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Katie Cannuli.
A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can . Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on .
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay3@usdoj.gov .