SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Construction contractors across the state welcomed the February 1 announcement by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office on bringing criminal charges against Michael Gregory Silverberg, general manager and owner of Palm Desert-based United States Pools Corporation for multiple counts of fraud and other charges. According to the release, Silverberg was charged with defrauding California's Insurance Fund, the State Board of Equalization and two insurance companies and committing white-collar crimes. If convicted, Silverberg faces up to 16 years in prison. A felony settlement conference is scheduled for February 26.
Mike Geremia, President, Geremia Pools, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of the California Spa and Pool Education Council (SPEC), issued the following statement:
"This is a great step in the right direction by the district attorney's office and other state agencies to coordinate efforts. We expect this is just the tip of the iceberg and hope the district attorney and state enforcement agencies will continue cracking down on corrupt contractors who compete unfairly."
John Norwood, President and General Counsel for SPEC, issued the following statement:
"Contractors like this have been getting away with dodging the law for a long time while forcing legitimate contractors to go out of business. It's great to see these crooks captured!"
Kent Westfall, former plaster and remodeling Palm Desert contractor, after more than 30 years in operation and no longer in business, issued the following statements:
"We appreciate the district attorney's office and other state agencies taking this seriously. Too many unscrupulous contractors from all trades in the Palm Desert region, as well as statewide, continue to evade the law and put legitimate contractors at risk.
"My company was directly affected by deceitful contractors.
"There are plenty of law-abiding contractors in the Palm Desert region that builders, general contractors and homeowners do not need to resort to contracting with those out of compliance."
Brad Diede, Executive Director, California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC), issued the following statements:
"It's a crying shame that awarding authorities, general contractors, builders, and homeowners continue to contract with crooked subcontractors who deprive workers out of what is owed them.
"We count on state and local agencies to continue their collective efforts by focusing on the serial violators, including those who hire them."
Leslie Halls, Executive Director, San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange, issued the following statement:
"Con artists like this swimming pool contractor defraud the government, taxpayers and every licensed law-abiding contractor. And, unfortunately, this type of activity often goes unchecked in small rural communities because prosecutors have more pressing matters before them. It's about time this type of white-collar crime gets the attention it deserves. Lawful contractors are losing work."
Larry Rohlfes, Assistant Executive Director, California Landscape Contractors Association, issued the following statement:
"Payroll tax-evasion and workers' compensation insurance premium fraud in the construction industry are incredibly insidious because they make it nearly impossible for law-abiding contractors to stay in business while doing the right thing for their employees and clients."
SOURCE California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC)