SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced the unsealing of grand jury indictment transcripts against Daniel Jacob Siapin, owner of Siapin Horticulture, a landscaping, irrigation and maintenance company, and his son Gabriel Daniel Siapin of La Habra Heights for embezzlement of more than $300,000 in employee benefits on a public works job. Accused of violating the legal requirements to pay minimum prevailing wage to workers, father and son were indicted on February 25, 2014 by an Orange County Grand Jury on 28 felony counts of "taking and receiving a portion of worker's wage on public works with a sentencing enhancement for property loss over $200,000."
The Siapins face a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison if convicted. In the announcement, Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su stated, "Wage theft is a crime and my office is working with District Attorneys across the State to investigate and prosecute these cases. I am proud of and grateful for our collaboration with the Orange County District Attorney to bring scofflaw employers to justice."
The 17-month investigation began with the labor commissioner's office and the OCDA being tipped off by a complaint "alleging underpayments of prevailing wages to workers on the Lakeside Middle School alterations project in Lakeside, California."
In response to the OCDA and DIR's announcement, Bruce Wick, Director of Risk Management, California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC), issued the following comments:
"This case demonstrates the "pay-off" of the long-term commitment and collaboration among multiple agencies, such as the DIR and the OCDA, to nab fraudulent contractors who intentionally deceive their workers and the state.
"It's unconscionable to take benefits from workers who have trusted their employers to make good on their promises and comply with regulations.
"CALPASC and law-abiding contractors throughout California will continue to watch for deceitful contractors and shine a spotlight on their wrongdoings for the agencies to take action."
SOURCE California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC)