Owners of Californian construction firm plead guilty to $6m fraud

A construction company run by a brother and sister in Paramount, California, has admitted to gaining $6.3m through fraud.

Enrique and Gloria Vera’s Ultimate Inc acquired the money by altering payroll records to reduce the amount paid to its employees’ compensation insurance, resulting in a $500,000 loss to California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).

According to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Enrique Vera, the owner of Ultimate, pleaded no contest to one felony count of workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft of labour. It was found he underpaid employees while working as a contractor on a student housing renovation project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gloria Vera, 58, Ultimate’s office manager, pleaded no contest to one felony count each of workers’ compensation fraud and insurance fraud. She had concealed employees’ injuries sustained on the job so they were not entitled to compensation.

Under a plea deal, the defendants must pay back the $6.3m as well as $30,000 in fines and $5,000 in investigative costs. They will also be electronically monitored for a year, complete 500 hours of community service and comply with the SCIF in future business dealings.

If all requirements are met the defendants’ convictions will become misdemeanours and they will be placed on 18 months of summary probation.

The duo were originally charged in 2018.
Image courtesy of Photographerlondon/Dreamstime

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