Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division
The Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division specializes in prosecuting several kinds of insurance fraud including auto insurance fraud, disability and healthcare fraud and life insurance fraud, but the Division is nationally known for prosecuting workers’ compensation fraud. This expertise lends itself to prosecuting wage theft because of the cross over with the failure to pay employees, the failure to accurately represent the total number of employees, and the failure to payroll taxes.
The Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division has prosecuted these cases as long as there was a reason to suspect workers’ compensation fraud, but now under the new Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division, team members assigned to this division will investigate and prosecute these cases whether there is a nexus to workers’ compensation fraud or not. Our relationship with the California Labor Commissioner’s office and the Employment Development Department makes this unit, the prime division for handling these types of cases. The investigation of these cases go hand in hand with workers’ compensation fraud, because often an employer committing fraud in one area is committing fraud in another area usually shortchanging the employees along the way.
Over the past twelve years, we’ve prosecuted over a dozen significant cases. Our goal is to see that these cases continue to receive the detailed attention and specialized expertise. We have established the Workplace Justice Unit which will advocate for workers and prosecute unfair business practices including wage theft violations, payroll tax evasion, and labor trafficking cases.
The vast majority of people will not commit fraud or participate in any fraudulent schemes. Most workers wake up every day and go to work, without giving any thought about what would happen to them if they got injured in the line of duty. If they do get injured, they take for granted that they will be taken care of by their boss. Unscrupulous employers take advantage of this trust by failing to buy workers’ compensation insurance, leaving their employees without any legal recourse should they get hurt.
Prosecuting these types of crimes helps ensure a level playing field for honest employers to fairly compete in the marketplace. Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice offenses are often considered part of the underground economy. The rapidly growing underground economy costs California an estimated $9 billion in uncollected tax revenue and imposes significant financial burdens on business owners that comply with labor, licensing and payroll tax laws.
Employees of business that operate in the underground economy are also affected. Often times working conditions may not meet the legal requirements; their wages may be less than what is required by law and benefits they are entitled to may be delayed or even denied due to an employers’ failure to properly report wages. This scheme may also shift the tax burden onto the employee.
Our office is committed to creating a fair and equitable workplace through enforcing and protecting workers’ rights. This includes prosecuting insurance fraud, criminal wage theft cases and stopping labor trafficking.