It is a sad fact some unscrupulous employers will stop at nothing to make money, even when that involves taking advantage of their hardworking employees. According to a recent news article from Orange County Breeze, three employers were recently arrested and charged with stealing wages from their employees on a public works project.
Authorities say one businessman has been charged with four felony counts of conspiracy to take employee wages earned during a public works project, over 30 counts of taking employee wages on a public works project, 20 felony counts of tax evasion, 4 counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, and an additional 10 counts of conspiracy to file false or counterfeited documents.
As our Orange County employment attorneys can explain, due to the amount of the alleged theft being over $200,000, defendant faces a statutory sentencing enhancement if convicted of some or all of these charges. Specifically, defendant could spend over 56 years in state prison.
His co-defendant, a 62-year-old businessman from Glendale, is facing many of the same charges and is facing a maximum of 27 years in state prison if convicted of some or all of the pending charges. He is currently being held, along with his co-defendant, on $340,000 bond and is scheduled to have a pretrial hearing next week.
A third suspect has been charged with four felony counts of conspiracy and faces a maximum of five-and-a-half years in a California state prison if convicted, though he is still at-large, and police consider him a fugitive from justice as of this time. It is important to note, all three defendants have not been convicted of any crime in connection with these employee wage theft allegations and are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Prosecutors alleged, between 2006 and 2012, one defendant operated a fire protection company in Glendale, California, which had contracted to perform several public works projects. He is accused of taking a portion of the money provided to pay employees and not giving it to newly arrived immigrants working for the company. First defendant hired the other two defendants as a bookkeeper and officer worker, and they are alleged to have helped him defraud the workers by falsifying documents and other records to hide the employee wage thefts.
Prosecutors say they are seeking the stiffest penalty provided by the law, because these three defendants stole money from innocent workers and cheated competing bidders on these public works projects by misreporting information submitted to the government agency and failing to follow public law when performing project work.
If you are an employee and believe your employer is illegally withholding benefits or wages, you should speak with an experienced Orange County employment attorney as soon as possible to see if you a have valid claim to recover for your losses. While many fear retaliation from their respective employers, you should rest assured your consultation will be completely confidential.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Three Businessmen Charged With Defrauding Employees, May 3, 2015, OC Breeze
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EEOC Sues Restaurant for Discrimination Against Male Applicants, Feb. 5, 2015, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog