SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Hesperia man has been charged with one misdemeanor count of conducting business as an uninsured employer.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has been making a sustained push recently to work cooperative investigations with the many varied state agencies like the California Department of Standards and Labor Enforcement, the Contractors’ State License Board, and the Department of Industrial Relations.
According to Deputy District Attorney David Simon, this prosecution is part of a recent push by the San Bernardino County District Attorney, Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit to crack down on what he describes as the underground economy: businesses operating without the appropriate licenses, no insurance, paying workers in cash, failing to deduct withholding and unemployment taxes, and similar offenses.
In January 2012, Najib Mohammad Samara, 58, was the subject of a criminal investigation conducted by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit. As a result of the investigation, criminal charges were filed against Samara for failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance for his employees (California Labor Code, Section 3700.5(a)).
In March 2012, Samara obtained the required insurance coverage for his employees. At his arraignment in June, he presented a copy of the new policy to the court and DDA Simon. Since Samara was now in compliance with California Law, charges were dismissed by the prosecutor.
The following month, Samara's workers' compensation insurance policy was cancelled due to non-payment.
Later that year, in November, the California Department of Standards and Labor Enforcement (DSLE) conducted a follow-up inspection for possible violation of California Labor Laws and confirmed that Samara did not have workers’ compensation insurance for his employees. DSLE issued several citations for California Labor violations and issued a "Stop Order" advising Samara that no employees were allowed to work at his business.
On March 20, 2013, criminal charges were filed once again against Samara for failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance for his employees. Samara was arrested by District Attorney Investigators at his place of business in Hesperia and taken into custody and transported to the Victorville Jail Facility for booking. Bail was set at $25,000.
Samara is scheduled to be arraigned May 22 at 9:30 a.m. in Dept. 15 of the Victorville Superior Court. If convicted as charged, he faces one year of prison time to be served in county jail and a fine starting at $10,000. This case will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney David Simon, Lead Attorney for the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit.
“Unfortunately, there are several business owners who put their employees at great risk by refusing to carry the required workers’ comp coverage,” District Attorney Michael Ramos said. “This practice also creates an unfair disadvantage for those business owners who follow the rules. Enough is enough. This office will continue to prosecute those who fail to comply with the laws of conducting business in our county.”
Click here to download a copy of the complaint.