Lodi, Calif. City Councilman Arraigned on Illegal Gambling Charges Won’t Resign
Posted on: September 30, 2021, 04:43h.
Last updated on: September 30, 2021, 04:53h.
A Lodi, Calif. city councilmember and his brother were arraigned Tuesday on multiple charges, including illegal gambling, money laundering, and tax evasion, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
Councilmember Shakir Khan and Zakir Khan are alleged to have operated illegal gaming machines out of two businesses they owned in Stockton. They subsequently allegedly laundered around $3 million in profits.
Shakir Khan also faces numerous charges related to Employment Development Department fraud for allegedly unlawfully receiving money from California’s pandemic relief fund.
Cases involving money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion are very complex and require an inordinate amount of resources to prove,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement. “Integrity matters, the truth matters, and our office prosecutes those who prey on and take advantage of marginalized communities.”
Khan Elected Despite Arrest
Khan was initially arrested in November 2020 after San Joaquin County sheriff’s officers executed a search warrant on the brothers’ American Smokers Club, a tobacco shop in Stockton.
The 45-page complaint filed by the DA’s office to the California Superior Court also alleges one other allegation. The complaint states another business, the One Stop Smoke Shop in Stockton, is a place where the brothers permitted illegal betting activity to occur.
Back in November, Khan denied he had broken the law and questioned the timing — just three days before extended voting began in the city council elections.
The Pakistani-born American was a runaway leader in the race against three other candidates for the city’s District 4 seat. Despite his arrest, he won comfortably, with 45.78 percent of the vote.
I believe my political opponents have concocted this allegation to damage my reputation and campaign for Lodi City Council,” he said in a Facebook post at the time.
Khan had campaigned to reduce crime in Stockton and vowed to work with the Lodi Police Department to address issues like gangs, drugs, and public safety.
‘Withhold Judgment’ Plea
On Wednesday, his lawyer, Allen Sawyer, said his client had no intention of resigning his office. He added that Khan sold the businesses before the illegal gambling allegedly took place.
“Mr Khan denies these charges and looks forward to clearing his name,” Sawyer said. “None of these allegations involve his office of City Council. … Mr. Khan asks the public that they withhold judgment and that he be afforded the presumption of innocence.”
The defendants were arraigned before San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Ronald Northrup at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. They were released of their own recognizance, which means they were not required to post bail.
They were ordered to surrender their passports and refrain from traveling out of the state and were placed on pre-trial monitoring.
A third brother, Mohammed Khan, will be arraigned on his return to the United States.
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