San Joaquin county’s District Attorney, Toni Verber Salazar, released an official statement earlier today on the arraignment of Lodi City Council Member Shak Khan. City Council Member Khan and his lawyer respond with a statement of their own.
Shakir Khan, a Lodi City Council Member, and co-defendant Zakir Khan were arraigned at 1:30pm today by Judge Ronald Northrup on numerous counts of illegal gambling, grand theft money laundering, and tax evasion related to their two businesses. Those businesses are the American Smokers Club at 2520 E. Waterloo Rd, Stockton, CA and the One Stop Smoke Shop at 2525 E. Fremont St, Stockton, CA. Co-defendant Mohammad Khan is set to be arraigned on October 26, 2021 after his arrival from Pakistan. The 45-page complaint states slot machine, card machine, and/or other betting devices were on the premises, and the money was laundered through their businesses to avoid taxation.
Additionally, charges of Employment Development Department (EDD) fraud were added on top of Council Member Khan’s original charges. The official complaint reads that Shakir Khan made several false statements of representation regarding unemployment compensation to “obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit or payment to said defendant(s) or any other person under the statute administered by the Employment Development Department” in August of 2020.
The official press release from the Office of the San Joaquin County District Attorney can be found here.
For those that are unfamiliar, an arraignment is the first step in court. The court formally charges the defendants with their crimes, the defendants respond with their plea of guilty or not guilty, and bail is set to release defendants from jail until their trial.
A $225,000 bail was set and posted by Council Member Khan last year shortly after his arrest. Bail was not set again during today’s arraignment, and the defendants were released on their own recognizance against the Deputy District Attorney’s recommendations.
Council Member Khan and his lawyer, Allen Sawyer, responded to the DA’s press release with a statement of their own:
“Mr. Khan denies these charges and looks forward to clearing his name,” said his attorney Allen Sawyer. “None of these allegations involve his office of City Council. Mr. Khan has no intentions of resigning his office. Mr. Khan asks the public that they withhold judgment and that he be afforded the presumption of innocence.”
Click here to see the statement released by Council Member Khan on Facebook.
Earlier this year, The Grapevine News sat down with City Council Member Shak Khan to discuss his arrest last year. During the interview he pleaded with the public to ask the San Joaquin District Attorney to move the case forward. The DA’s press release appeared to acknowledge the 11-month period since Mr. Khan’s arrest:
“Cases involving money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion are very complex and require an inordinate amount of resources to prove,” said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar. “Integrity matters, the truth matters, and our office prosecutes those who prey on and take advantage of marginalized communities.”
We will continue to keep an eye on this case for further updates. Stay tuned to The Grapevine News!