OAKLAND, Calif. — Three people who were connected to a now-defunct California insurance firm that provided truck drivers and small trucking companies with automobile liability insurance have been charged with fraud in federal court.
According to a news release from United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey, FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp and San Francisco Division Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez., a federal grand jury indictment was unsealed on Dec. 19 charging Jasbir S. Thandi, Sandeep Sahota and Jaspreet Padda with insurance fraud crimes related to the collapse of Global Hawk Risk Retention Group, headquartered in Livermore, California
According to the indictment, Thandi, 67, of El Sobrante, California, was the president and treasurer of Global Hawk, The indictment alleges that between 2017 and 2019, Thandi misappropriated more than $19 million in Global Hawk funds, including sending over $1 million to an entity domiciled in the British Virgin Islands, and more than $7 million to other outside entities controlled by Thandi.
The indictment further alleges that Thandi, Sahota, 47, of Concord, California, and Padda, 40, of Elk Grove, California, submitted false and fraudulent financial statements to insurance regulators that overstated Global Hawk’s assets by tens of millions of dollars and concealed the misappropriations.
Sahota was Global hawk’s vice president and secretary and Padda was the company’s outside investment advisor. Global Hawk’s primary business was providing automobile liability insurance coverage for truck drivers and small trucking companies. In May 2020, after regulators discovered the misappropriation and Global Hawk’s insolvency, Global Hawk was declared insolvent and was liquidated pursuant to a court order.
The indictment charges Thandi, Sahota and Padda with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 as well as two counts of insurance fraud (false statements to regulators), in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1033(a) and 2. The indictment also charges Thandi with two counts of insurance fraud (misappropriation) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1033(b).
The indictment also charges Thandi with two counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. The indictment alleges that in 2016, Thandi obtained a $6.4 million bank loan based on false representations, and in 2017, obtained another $14.75 million bank loan, also based on false representations.
The conspiracy count has a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Each insurance fraud count has a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison (or 15 years if the fraud jeopardized the safety and soundness of an insurer and was a significant cause of such insurer being placed in conservation, rehabilitation, or liquidation by an appropriate court) and a maximum fine of $250,000. Each bank fraud count has a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million.
For all counts, the court also may order a term of supervised release, fines or other assessments, restitution and forfeiture, if appropriate. 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.
Sahota was arrested on Dec. 18 and made an initial appearance before the Hon. Alex G. Tse, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California. Padda was arrested in the Eastern District of California.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.