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California Construction Company Operators Charged with Fraud and Wage Theft

If convicted, sister and brother face a maximum penalty of 19 years and 15 years in prison respectively.

A brother and sister who run a construction company in Paramount, CA have been charged with fraud that allegedly resulted in underpaying employees and in at least $6 million in losses to California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Enrique Vera, 48, who owns Ultimate, Inc., faces four felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and three felony counts of grand theft of labor.  Gloria Vera, 57, who is the company’s office manager, is charged with five counts of workers’ compensation fraud, three counts of insurance fraud and three counts of grand theft of labor, all felonies.  The charges include an allegation of fraud and embezzlement that resulted in a loss of more than $500,000 to the SCIF.  Case BA472360 was filed for arrest warrant on Oct. 24.  Enrique Vera was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, while Gloria Vera will be arraigned at a later time.

According to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Hartman of the Healthcare Fraud Division, the siblings allegedly submitted altered payroll records to the SCIF in order to pay a reduced premium on the construction company’s workers’ compensation insurance.  They are accused of making false and fraudulent statements with the intent to discourage injured workers from claiming workers’ compensation benefits or pursuing claims.

Gloria Vera also allegedly failed to disclose and actively concealed employees’ on-the-job injuries that entitled them to workers’ compensation.  Furthermore, the siblings allegedly underpaid employees the prevailing wage that the company was required to pay as a contractor for a student housing renovation project at UCLA, the prosecutor said.

The crimes allegedly occurred from Jan. 1, 2012 through March 31, 2017.

Gloria Vera faces a possible maximum penalty of 19 years in state prison if convicted as charged.  Enrique Vera faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.  The prosecutor is requesting bail be set at $505,000 for Gloria Vera and $430,000 for Enrique Vera.

The case remains under investigation by the District Attorney’s Office’s Bureau of Investigation.