Contra Costa Employer Fraud Task Force Targets Residential Care Home Industry

September 17, 2014 9:14 am · 45 comments

booking

A multi-agency task force led by Contra Costa District Attorney Mark A. Peterson served search warrants on four residential care homes today and arrested and filed charges against the owners of several other residential care homes based on previous and separate search warrants. Four owners and 19 homes were involved in the investigations.

The following is from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office:

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office today filed two criminal cases against the owners of those 14 care homes. The first complaint alleges the owners of Abraham Rest Home Inc. and Sanchez Abraham Corporation committed eight felony charges, including wage theft, tax, and insurance violations. Two misdemeanor labor charges are also alleged. The owners Sara Abraham, Annette Sanchez and Julio Sanchez were arrested today on warrants with bail set at $300,000.

The enforcement actions are the result of a yearlong investigation by members of the Contra Costa Employer Fraud Task Force, including investigators from the California Department of Insurance, the Department of Industrial Relations, the Employment Development Department, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Businesses should not profit by stealing from their hard-working employees,” said Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson. “When a corrupt business owner commits wage theft, he or she almost invariably commits tax and insurance fraud. We cannot allow these unscrupulous businesses to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses.”

Today’s search warrants, arrests, and charges involve three separate cases. Two of the investigations started after the U.S. Department of Labor received complaints about Abraham Rest Home Inc. and Sanchez Abraham Corporation (Walnut Creek) and also Florin White Dove Care Homes (Brentwood).

The Department of Labor investigated both ownership groups and established that workers were not being paid minimum wage or overtime at 14 different care homes operated. The Department of Labor referred the matters to the Contra Costa Employer Fraud Task Force, which took over the investigation. Search warrants were served on six of the care homes on June 17 of this year, while the eight other care homes were inspected on November 26, 2013.

The second complaint also alleges wage theft, tax, and insurance violations against Florinda Yambao, the owner of Florin White Dove Care Homes, which led to the four felony charges and one misdemeanor.

The third case was the result of information discovered while investigating the other two cases. When previous search warrants were served at Florin White Dove Care Homes, information was developed about a third set of homes allegedly operated in a similar manner. That information led to today’s search warrant at Scienn Hall Care homes.

“Too often workers in residential care facilities are working long shifts, being underpaid and then are retaliated against when they exercise their rights in the workplace,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. ”We’ll continue to work with our partners in Contra Costa County to put a stop to intimidation and coercion of these employees who make a living taking care of our elderly and infirmed friends and family members.”

Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has made combating wage theft her top priority since her appointment in 2011. A key component of this effort is the partnerships with district attorneys, as in this case, where the labor commissioner’s office began an investigation of Abraham care homes in May 2013. Together with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office, investigations of Abraham and Sanchez-Abraham care homes uncovered $497,536.13 in unpaid minimum wages and $497,009.95 in unpaid overtime wages. Fine and penalties totaling $623.984.66 will be divided among the 48 affected employees. Joint investigations of the Florinda Yambao care homes uncovered $320,687.01 in unpaid minimum wages, $156,281.52 in unpaid overtime wages, which results in $378,199.37 in fines and penalties that will be divided among the 12 affected employees.

“These violations, totaling more than $2 million owed to 60 residential care workers, reveal a deliberate indifference to laws of California and to the basic wage floor to which every employee in California is entitled,” said Labor Commissioner Su. “These employees worked 12 to 16 hours a day and were compensated with daily rates ranging from $50-$80. Wage theft is a crime that harms working people, undermines the safety and care of patients in residential care homes, and threatens our economy. It will be met not only with civil citations but criminal prosecution. We are grateful to the Contra Costa district attorney for their collaboration with us to bring these employers to justice.”

“We take payroll tax evasion very seriously and work with our partners to prosecute all underground employers to the fullest extent of the law,” said EDD Director Patrick W. Henning, Jr. “By breaking the law, these employers not only cheat the market, they’re also not contributing to California’s unemployment and disability insurance programs which provide critical benefits to hard-working employees at a time of great need.”

It’s estimated that employers operating in the underground economy evade billions in state taxes annually. Failing to file payroll tax returns with the intent to evade tax is a felony and has a maximum penalty of three years in custody and up to a $20,000 fine.

Concord Guy September 17, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Wage theft is one of the most vile crimes out there. Lock ’em up and throw away the key!

Kirker Hill should be closed off September 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

sickening! glad they were caught so they cant keep stealing from innocent working people!!

Concord Living September 17, 2014 at 9:25 AM

This is just sad!

Dorothy September 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM

No wonder those places cost so much. Owners siphon off a lot of profit.

Han Solo September 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Good luck getting them to pay up.

Little Nick September 17, 2014 at 9:43 AM

If they hired US citizens there wouldn’t be a wage problem, Americans would speak up.

The workers September 17, 2014 at 9:46 AM

The fines do not cover the monies owed.
Are the workers that filed claims properly documented to do the work performed, nurses, caregivers, etc?

Nutcreek Frontier September 17, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Are the addresses of the homes listed anywhere?

nytemuvr September 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM

We’ve had a few incidents like this up here in Sacramento too in the last year or two. Mis-treatment of patients and just money grubbing owners, it’s statewide. $7, 8 or 9K a month per patient seems like a lot for a 8’x8′ room with “meals” and minimal supervision with minimally paid “nurses”. It’s the not so new white collar fraud that is rampant in that industry for a long time.

wow Nick September 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Your reading my mind. I was just about to post the same thing. I’m sure there are more that feel the same way. This likely goes on everywhere.

If these miscreants September 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

are found guilty, there is no suitable punishment for the people, the workers, they have stolen from. If there was a way to banish the thieves, that might make some people feel better, but the harm is done.

kax September 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

notice how some people just LOOK like criminals……i wouldn’t hire these creeps to wash my car…..prison for you all…..

itsme September 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

@Little Nick and The Workers…..you hit the nail on the head!

Walnut Creek Resident September 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

In most of the long term assisted living homes the owners are really ripping us off. Even the health care companies that offer home health care are charging way too much money for their services. It is astonishing to find this out. I am not even talking about people being dishonest like this bunch have been found out to be!!! It is called sharp practice. Something must be done about this. As for these morons I hope they get kicked out of the industry forever. I am really glad I voted for Mark Peterson. I wish we could have new regulations to stop these greedy corporations!! It is terrible especially when I know someday I will have to spend my good money for these robbers!!

JW September 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM

I know that I have seen the lady in the center somewhere before. Maybe on BART or something.

macwiz September 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I first became aware of these homes, when an elderly friend called me to fix his Mac. He and his wife (with Alzheimers) were residents in one of the homes. I was amazed when I visited as the home was in a really nice neighborhood, east of Bancroft and south of Oak Grove. It was spotless and my friend was enthusiastic over the care he and his wife received there. I was even invited to stay for lunch which was nice. Staff were polite, and seemed attentive. On the strength of my several followup visits, I recommended my sister-in-law be placed there as she had Alzheimers. It wasn’t as expensive os some others. It ran a bit under $4000 a month. Later she was transferred to a more intensive care , unrelated to Abrahams, place at about $7200 a month where she died. I can see now why they weren’t as expensive. I do have to say the cleanliness of the place and care given were 5 star. However this is no excuse for ripping off people who were ignorant of our laws. Another person her pointed out that American workers would likely not allow themselves to be so exploited. I say good work by the DA and I hope they go after some of the really big operators who no doubt are not following many rules and laws.

Shasta Daisy September 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

My suspicions were right!

For over a year, I visited someone in one of the Alhambra Rest Homes. I contacted the Ombudsman and asked them to check the place out. I was concerned about the work conditions, training of the staff and if the staff was here legally. All of this affected the care of the residents which is the most important thing.

As soon as I saw those 3 faces, I recognized each one of them.
Shame on them.

I wonder what will happen to all the residents in the homes.

Stupido September 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM

They look like losers to me…

Felino September 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Maybe it’s just me, but can someone explain what exactly an ‘American worker’ is?

Question September 17, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I just have one thing to say to the lady pictured in the middle:

“why the long face?”

Nurse Rachitt September 17, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I hope they look deeper in Elder abuse and lack of care at those homes.
Check for bed sores and dehydration of all patients!!!!

Amazing September 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

@JW….

I’ve seen her before as well. TV show Mr. Ed. ” why the long face “?

Joe September 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Throw that scum away for life, they hire illegal aliens.

Sick Of It September 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM

I want a Halloween mask of the one in the middle, nothing like opening the door and scaring trick or treaters.

These scumbags suck but blaming corporations is like blaming guns when people shoot innocent people or blaming spoons for America’s obesity epidemic. Perhaps the Government should take over these facilities that would end the corruption (right).

So Sad September 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

This is so sad. I have almost the same story of Maxwiz of another Care Home my Mother was in. Clean, spotless and seemingly committed. They seemed so nice.

In order to protect our Elderly and those in need visit http://www.canhr.org for information and join their campaign to convince Jerry Brown and our California Legislators to require laws that protect those in need.

Seemingly awful offenses only get $150 fine, including medication mismanagement. This is a real problem and we have to react. We will one day be in this situation and I only pray things will be better.

Our prayers to those affected, may God Bless.

California Nightmare September 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Good work by the DA and Mark Peterson.

I also agree with earlier posters that the presence of so many illegal aliens in California makes this kind of abuse very easy to get away with. For every one business owner who is discovered, there are probably 100 more who are oblivious to things like minimum wages or overtime rules.

This would not be such a problem if we secured the borders and legalized most of these people (in that order). .

Marissa September 17, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Good God! To think I even considered having a loved one stay in that facility!

Tom September 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM

This is scary. Elder abuse is so sad.

Aghast..... September 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I read the article in the paper this morning about these scoundrels. It showed the opulent homes they lived in from the money they skimmed from these workers. Makes me sick. I can only imagine the bad care the elderly received. They also had multiple fines for many violations too. Looks like the woman in the middle picture had some plastic surgery courtesy of the money she should have paid the care workers…Throw the scumbags in jail and let them rot…….

mb September 17, 2014 at 3:06 PM

I recognize both of these woman. My mother in law was in their care at a
beautiful home on Flowerwood Ct. in Walnut Creek. I guess the extra money paid for night care didn’t go to right people. Long term greed with get you in BIG trouble, shame on them.

So Sad September 17, 2014 at 3:46 PM

The sad part is that this is the norm. Because we have been exposed to mental health problems and try to help, we are therefore unbelievable and our words mean absolutely nothing.

We are as sick as those we care for.

But not really, we know for sure.

The workers September 17, 2014 at 4:48 PM

@Felino #19

An American worker would be someone legally in this country by birth or Green Card and in this case, appropriately licensed, such as a Nurse would have to be or whatever the job requires, if any.

Tom September 17, 2014 at 5:10 PM

I have experience with all three of them as my mom lived at one of their houses. They were always very slippery and claimed to know everything. Turned out that the care their house offered was very lacking and they were unwilling to consider adapting to her needs. Glad that things sometimes catch up with the people who treat elders poorly!!

JW September 17, 2014 at 5:26 PM

@Amazing: Ha ha ha. That was messed up. Funny but messed up.

It is one of those things where you don’t forget a face. Maybe she worked at Kaiser before. I just can’t place it.

So Sad September 17, 2014 at 10:21 PM

So Sad.

Neigh September 17, 2014 at 10:25 PM

>>Question September 17, 2014 at 12:22 PM
I just have one thing to say to the lady pictured in the middle:

“why the long face?”<<

I'm a little hoarse.

gdub September 18, 2014 at 8:59 AM

The nurses at these type homes only get paid 10-13 an hour. Their wages should be increased instead of the fast food workers who want 15 an hour. Its a disgrace.

JJ September 18, 2014 at 6:26 PM

They only pay $9 an hour And no holiday pay,no raise..

maureen September 18, 2014 at 6:54 PM

I know these people, my grandmother passed away earlier this year and was a resident at one of their care homes in walnut creek, it was a spotless, very nice place with some very nice care givers but I knew these owners were liars and up to no good! they charged my grandmother an extra 1k per month for “extra night care” because she was bed ridden and to know and find out it is true that they never paid the workers for their night work and they charged an extra 1k per month because they claimed they had to do loads of paperwork for hospice services, i know they had no hospice paperwork from personal experience with my dad and i knew they lied about it always when asked… always trust your first instinct, these people are pathetic!!! i am happy for the caregivers there, they will now get their money they are owed!!!

maureen September 18, 2014 at 7:07 PM

the people hired are not nurses, they are at times even non english speaking, they cook, clean, bathe, dispense meds, keep company with residents, etc… i am not even sure if they know cpr… but they are good hard working people and deserve their fair pay, most took very good care of my grandmother and did the best they could! my family visited for 8 hours a day, EVERY single day when my grandmother was there, so we knew the routine… at least at the abraham care home in wc… but they are not nurses with no formal training at all, they system does need to change!!!

Silva September 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM

i don’t know these people, but I too much experience with these kinds of places with my mom on her way out of this world (she DEFINATELY did also). Somehow I don’t think that “American workers” are beating down the door for those extremely demanding minimum wage jobs. Yeah, shame on them and their ilk for running their evil scams.

maureen September 18, 2014 at 9:24 PM

JW, you have not seen the lady in the middle on BART she drives a Range Rover!

Half full September 19, 2014 at 12:58 AM

The person in the middle worked for Safeway

Madison September 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

My grandparents live in one of their homes and now my family doesn’t know what they are going to do. They were paying $4k EACH. This is awful. There were no resources left to the residents and the houses that were not raided didn’t even know this was going on until the article in the CC Times came out. The Dept. of Social Services was nowhere to be found to help anyone out. We are basically waiting for an eviction notice because no one is talking to the residents.

So Sad September 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Many of them have Real Estate Licenses, how convenient, and volunteer at Nursing Homes.

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