Parlier City Manager continues job despite facing federal indictment on fraud charges

PARLIER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A federal indictment on fraud charges isn't stopping the Parlier City Manager from continuing to serve the city in that position.

Antonio Gastelum is facing several counts, alleging while working for an ag labor contracting business he and a business partner falsified documents and collected millions.

Outside federal court, Antonio Gastelum's attorney did all of the talking. The Parlier City Manager has a lot at stake and if convicted faces 20 years in prison.

"I think they made all the right efforts to be in compliance and it's just a question of I think the legitimacy and technicalities and so forth but I can't get go any further because it is complicated," said attorney Roger Nuttall.

Federal prosecutors say Antonio Gastelum and partner Marcus Asay were involved in an elaborate scheme.

It involves bogus certificates, fake accounts and a lot of money. But according to Gastelum's attorney- some of the allegations are just honest mistakes.

Charles Manock has represented the business listed in the lawsuit- American Labor Alliance since the first allegations were brought forward by the Department of Insurance.

Manock said the one thing he's been asking from the beginning: who was defrauded? And where are they?

"Where are the victims? There are no victims. There have been zero complaints to the union with regard to pension issues, or with regard to claims with workers comps," Manock said.

Federal prosecutors allege Gastelum's role in the company was was more than a consultant. They claim he held positions including chief operations officer and overseeing legal compliance. The ag contracting business rents a space at a Clovis business complex. But he claims- nothing illegal was done by him personally.

Despite the indictment, Gastelum remains on the job in Parlier. City officials told Action News he's done a great job for the city.

The mayor said, "We're always going to look out for the best interest of the community. It hasn't even gone to court and he deserves due process. It has nothing to do with Parlier."

The next city council meeting is next week and the mayor says the matter will be addressed.

According to court records, both defendants were released on certain conditions. They have both pleaded not guilty.
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