COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

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By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).  View full documents.

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018. He was also fined.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

As owner of “GO Carwash” (now renamed “Car Wash Caffe) in Santee, Kalasho was charged with a “Failure to Secure Payment of Compensation” and a “Failure to Observe Stop Order” on April 8, 2015, related to a worker’s compensation complaint filed by the County of San Diego District Attorney’s office and signed by San Diego Attorney Lina Charry. Kalasho was represented by San Diego attorney Stephen F. Lopez.

Kalasho was specifically accused of failing to pay an employee’s worker compensation insurance. He was also charged with not obeying a Department of Industrial Relations order to suspend or cease doing business until he had secured workers’ compensation insurance.

All businesses with one or more employees are supposed to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees in the event of work-related injuries. When a business fails to obey workers’ compensation laws, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement reserves the right to shut down an operation and penalizing the business owner.

In California, a business not providing workers’ compensation coverage is a criminal offense misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year in the county jail and/or fines of not less than $10,000. In addition, the state has the right to penalize illegally uninsured employers up to $100,000. If a business is found guilty of usurping California workers’ compensation insurance rules, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcements will assess a penalty of either twice the amount the employer would have paid in workers’ comp premiums during the uninsured time (determined according to subdivision) or the sum of $1,500 per employee during the uninsured time – whichever is greater.

According to documents received from San Diego Superior Court, Kalasho received notice of the complaint in a document dated April 8, 2015 ordering him to appear for arraignment on May 12, 2015 at 8 a.m. before Judge Enrique E. Camerena in the San Diego Division of the County Courthouse. He was booked and released on his own recognizance.   

Kalasho pled guilty to both charges on October 1, 2015 and was granted summary probation under terms that he violate no laws (except for minor traffic violations) and cannot commit the same violations for a period of three years ending October 1, 2018. He was also required to be in custody of the San Diego County Sheriff at the Central Jail for one day, on top of complying with requirements set by the Division of Industrial Relations.

As a part of the plea agreement reached with the District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Division, Kalasho was ordered to pay $5,000 restitution and was ordered to turn himself to custody of the Sheriff’s Central Jail for one day’s incarceration on October 4, 2015.

A fine of $10,000 which could have been assessed against him on the first count was stayed, pending successful compliance with all terms of a penalty offer which included payment of all standard court fines and penalty assessments from the Division of Industrial Relations. Kalasho also waived his right to appeal the adjudication offer.

Kalasho has refused be interviewed by  ECM and asked not to be contacted  since our reporting revealed that he never obtained the required federal employee identification number for the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant which he represented as a nonprofit. The state subsequently revoked its nonprofit status. 

Kalasho has previously received the endorsements of the San Diego County Democratic Party and East County Democratic Club which ordinarily which adheres to traditional pro-labor standards on worker issues.

View misdemeanor documents 1) and 2)

Editor's note:  ECM did run a background check on candidates in the El Cajon Council race, including criminal records. A search for Ben Kalasho turned up no criminal records.  We were unaware at the time that his legal first name is Bessmon.

Follow Paul Kruze on Twitter and Facebook: @PaulKruzeNews

Comments

Copy's Documents

Copy's of court documents https://www.workcompcentral.com/news/article/id/4dd1f92dde80b7afd14269e190110a615792d0e1

How Kalasho really feels about El Cajon!

Councilman Ben Kalasho thinks El Cajon is a dirty, unsafe and does not resemble America. Per Kalasho's Candidate Statement he submitted he states " I know that most Fletcher Hills and Grossmont area residents shop in Santee or La Mesa. Why? Because it's safer, cleaner & still feels like you're in America". Well I guess we now know how Kalasho really feels about El Cajon. Remember Kalash Fletcher Hills is El Cajon. I'll have more to say later I need to lock my doors in my dirty home and third world town.

Remember as well

Senate, Congressional, President, No qualifications needed not even a highschool diploma. Just Money......

Good investigative journalism Paul/ECM

Pretty interesting that I know of certain jobs, where a background check, if it yields a "booking record" (booking process/record is much different than just a conviction on a infraction/misdemeanor/felony), often will mean you do not get a job. I have no booking record through ARJIS or NCIC. I dated a cop in town, she told me people who get a booking record cannot erase it, it is like final. It stays in the databases. I am wondering if the El Cajon city council or mayor knew of Ben's history, when he ran, and whether anything was concealed back then? Having said that, an in a bit of a defense of Ben, an incredible amount of employers cut corners with employees, either by trying to call them independent contractors, not paying taxes, not paying into workman's comp, not paying into the unemployment fund, and not filing 1099's at year's end, and much more. Whether what Ben did in this case is a major crime, I guess only the courts can decide (which they did). But for every extend-of-crime it is recorded Ben committed in this case, I assure you many more employers/business owners are doing much worse, they just don't get caught, or it is decided not to conduct enforcement action against them, for whatever reasons. ~Rescue51

A misdemeanor conviction does not disqualify you from running

for pbulic office. Even many felony convictions don't, only certain ones such as embezzling public funds.

That said, Democrats might not have endorsed a candidate with a conviction for a labor violation, and it's unknown whether this might have influence voters if it had bene known at the time.

 

Still going to remain as a council member?

This is not comforting news. Hopefully the rest of the council members and the mayor will continue to keep him in check. Then again, if he's jailed for any length of time, this could cause a termination - maybe. Or perhaps a felony conviction could disrupt his reign. I don't believe he can win against Kendrick, because Gary is a very strong council member. Mr. Kendrick has done a good job for the citizens of El Cajon for years, and I have faith he will continue to do so. Wake up voters! Do your part as a citizen. Show that you care and go to the polls. Don't just sit around and complain about things, then do nothing while waiting for someone else to fix life's problems. Get active! Get busy! Do something - anything... Get involved! From city leadership to president of the united states, VOTE!

Ben Kalasho on twitter

https://twitter.com/benkalsho?lang=en I see he announced (to anyone who cares) that he is NOT running for mayor of El Cajon. Could this be true? Shall we assume he figures some type of invincibility as a councilman?

He will be on the Council win or lose, here's why.

Due to redistricting his existing term does not expire for two more years.

He is running against Kendrick in the newly created district where they both live. If Kalasho loses, he still keeps his seat. If he wins, he takes over the district held by Kendrick and the vacancy for his existing seat would be filled by either an appointment or special election, most likely an apopintment made by Council. 

I don't know why he opted to run for Kendrick's seat instead of Mayor as he'd previously announced an intent to do.

Felonies?

Attorney Jimmie Davis Parker has alleged Kalasho made false real estate filings in order to hide assets. California Penal Code Section 115 PC makes it a felony to file any forged or false document with a public office. If Kalasho committed two felonies while on probation he should be off the council and in jail. https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/councilman-kalasho-faces-new-accusations-fraud-over-allegedly-false-real-estate-document-filings

You're right miriamg

Now that you mention it, I may have read that somewhere as well. So much for deportation I suppose. Never the less, considering what he's been convicted of, and what new charges are pending, one would think perhaps some jail time would be in order. But it would appear that he's somewhat wealthy (notice how he flaunts it), and no doubt has a very good attorney who will keep him from doing serious time, if any. Some people just have that ability to go through life seemingly untouchable no matter what they do to others. The more they get away with, the more powerful and arrogant they become. This is not the type of person who should be in a position of any form of leadership. In the future, I will be vetting everyone I vote for and even looking into current leadership to get a better understanding of who they are.

Thank you

Law enforcement "passing the buck?" I'm shocked :-o I suppose only time will bear the outcome of his nefarious ways.

CRIMES OF MORAL TURPITUDE & THE LAW

A judge could potentially order an immigrant to be deported if he or she commits a crime under the laws covering Moral Turpitude. https;//www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_turpitude

He came here as a child,

from what we understand and is likely a naturalized citizen though I am not certain.

Very interesting indeed

Especially the part about Bessman "Ben" supposedly not allowed to be committing any criminal activity during his probationary period by court order. So why is he not in jail for violation these terms handed down by a judge? Do misdemeanor charges not count? A quick search at www.sdcourt.gov (access court records - online case search - party name search) finds a number of court cases documented over the years involving Bessman "Ben" Kalasho = 10 civil, and Jessica (Deddah) Kalasho = 5 civil, some as a plaintiff, some as a defendant.

Good question, Grandfather.

We made quite a few calls, and didn't get satisfactory answers.  It's important to note that Kalasho has not been charged with any new crimes since his guilty plea, though a judge in a civil case has deemed admitted s evidence that he potentially could be charged with in a criminal court if a DA found that crimes were committed. The new lawsuits are civil cases. However, those "deemed admitted"  findings of the judge include sexual harassment, fraud, revenge porn, cyberharassmente, comingilng of assets, and more If true some or all of these could be charged as crimes, too. He is also accused of threatening our reporter with an attack dog, which if the DA files charges, would be a criminal act. The law appears to bar hm from engaging in any criminal activity, misdemeanor or felony. We commonly see the Sheriff arresting people on probation or parole right away if they are found with drugs or weapons, so I don't think they have to wait for a conviction to take action, though summary probation rules may differ from rules for parolees.

If there is a criminal lawyer or probation expert out there who can explain to us exactly what the threshhold is for revoking a summary probation, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.  I have called the probation dept., whch referred me to the court for summary probation, whcih referred me to the DA's office, where the only call I got was from someone who wouldn't go on record or provide anything concrete, but suggested we talk to ECPD, whom we'd already asked about this and been told the DA handles such things.  So we were run in circles.  The charges originally were filed by the DA.  I am told that any citizen has a right to contact the DA and ask her office to file charges against someone.