Robert Foster, 47, of Morgan Hill, was charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, wage theft, and money laundering. Other defendants named in the complaint include Foster’s wife, Mikaila Foster; Nam Trong Le, 49, of San Jose; Margarita Trigo Rocha, 25, of San Martin; Victor Rene Parra, 33, of San Jose; Jose Meza, 39, of San Jose; Alberto Emmanuel Martinez, 33, of Modesto; Jason Albert King, 48, of Fremont; Richard McDiarmid, 59, a former Emeryville police officer; and Victoria Lorraine Cruz, 48, a former Santa Clara police dispatcher. They were similarly charged with four counts of felony conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, money laundering, wage theft, and 39 additional felonies, including extortion and a white-collar crime enhancement.
According to the complaint, Foster is the owner of a San Jose-based security firm called Atlas Private Security. He is accused of using his position as an active-duty police officer to further his business interests. He reportedly never disclosed to the San Jose Police Department that he owned and operated a business that could result in potential ethical conflicts.
Foster and his co-defendants allegedly attempted to reduce their insurance premiums and taxes by providing inaccurate payroll, paying employees off the books, underreporting headcount, and underreporting employee injuries. In one case, they allegedly threatened to have an injured employee deported if she continued to consult legal counsel about her rights under workers’ compensation laws.
A six-month investigation into Atlas by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation and other state agencies reportedly revealed that the company hid approximately $8.09 million in payroll over three years. This allowed Foster to avoid over $570,000 in tax liability and $560,000 in insurance premiums, according to the complaint. Through the alleged fraud scheme, Foster and his co-defendants were purportedly able to launder an estimated $18.20 million since 2015.
Foster’s arrest comes just days after District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced reforms that included the formation of a Workers Exploitation Task Force which is tasked with investigating cases of workers’ compensation fraud such as this one.
“This Office will root out and prosecute anyone—whether they wear a badge or not—taking criminal advantage of workers,” Rosen said. “Our new task force will protect and heal the victims of labor trafficking, wage theft and illegal exploitation and raise awareness about how these insidious crimes are attacks on our communities of color.”
Business owners suspected of committing workers’ comp fraud should consult an experienced fraud defense attorney. The penalties of an insurance fraud charge can be severe, which is why it is imperative for the accused to seek an attorney who can review the case and either minimize the penalties, or have the charges dropped altogether.
South Florida Workers’ Comp Fraud Attorney
Are you a business owner accused of committing workers’ compensation fraud in South Florida? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced workers’ compensation fraud attorneys.