A Hilmar man accused of bilking thousands of dollars from Foster Farms while working as a maintenance manager pled guilty Monday to mail fraud.
Surjit Toor, 61, entered a guilty plea to a charge of mail fraud for a scheme that he operated with his son that resulted in a nearly $47,000 loss to Foster Farms.
Toor worked as a maintenance manager at Foster Farms’ Livingston facility and was responsible for selecting third-party vendors to perform work at the plant. According to the court records, between February to April 2012 Toor conspired with his son, Raju Toor, 34, who ran a construction company called Mid State Mechanical, to bill Foster Farms for work that the construction company never performed.
In one scheme, Surjit Toor had Foster Farms send a purchase order to Mid State requesting that Mid State construct a 110foot inspection catwalk at the Foster Farms processing plant. Raju Toor then sent Foster Farms an invoice for more than $20,000, which Surjit Toor approved. However, an in-house maintenance team had already constructed the catwalk a month earlier, the investigation revealed.
The defendants also allegedly received payment for a fraudulent ammonia vessel project involving the modification of a large metal tank designed to hold ammonia, which is part of the plant’s refrigeration system. Surjit Toor caused Foster Farms to send a purchase order to Mid State for this project, and although Raju Toor did not perform any work, he sent an invoice, and Surjit Toor approved payment.
The indictment states Mid State was paid more than $26,000 for work that included the ammonia vessel.
After fraudulently receiving payment from Foster Farms, Raju Toor transferred the majority of the funds back to his father.
As part of his plea agreement, Surjit Toor agreed to pay $46,979 in restitution to Foster Farms, which he provided to the court Monday.
Raju Toor entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States, which was approved by the court on Jan. 29. According to the agreement, if Raju Toor does not engage in any fraudulent conduct, does not commit any crime, and the restitution amount is paid by the time of the sentencing of Surjit Toor, then after a 12 month period, the United States will seek dismissal of the charges against Raju Toor in the indictment.
Surjit Toor is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Dale A. Drozd on May 16.