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Restaurant owner charged with workers' compensation fraud

Workers' compensation fraud can be detrimental to employees who live paycheck to paycheck and rely solely on the honesty and integrity of their employers. When a worker discovers they have been taken advantage of and cheated out of their rightful earnings, they may seek legal action to collect their lacking wages. Recently, a local California restaurant owner charged with workers' compensation fraud found himself facing a total of 12 felonies and four misdemeanors.

The criminal complaint was brought against the owner of a California restaurant for workers' compensation fraud and a myriad of other illegal accusations. Records show that an extensive amount of workers were compensated significantly less than the California minimum wage, working six days a week and completing 12-hour shifts without breaks or overtime. Some of the employees resided in a habitation attached to the business. Purportedly, the Hispanic tenants were told by the owner to leave immediately following the preliminary audit due to fabricated threats about immigration authorities, and they were asked to remain quiet about their earnings and to disconnect personal communication devices.

Court records indicate that the owner of the restaurant only claimed a limited quantity of family employees quarterly, though he employed close to 50 more servers than his reported number. An audit revealed documentation of additional employees, leading to the uncovering of the potentially criminal activity. The owner of the restaurant was charged last week with multiple misdemeanors and felonies. They included evasion of and failure to accumulate insurance taxes for unemployment, workers' compensation fraud, inability to provide minimum wage to employees and discouraging an employee to report criminal activity.

The owner was discovered to have evaded $520,000 in wages, half a million dollars of overtime and $191,000 for failure to provide food and breaks to the servers. A California worker who has been denied compensation for their hourly duties may choose to seek professional guidance in claiming their owed money. The restaurant owner charged with workers' compensation fraud could be responsible for providing restitution for the workers who were victimized.

Source: kitsapsun.com, Longtime Oakland businessman faces 12 felony labor charges, Yolanda Martinez, Nov. 25, 2013

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