“We will not tolerate employers who break the law in order to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Our office will continue to ensure that all workers are protected and that the playing field is level for law-abiding businesses who wish to conduct business in San Bernardino County.”
The short film focuses on the work of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud Unit, in conjunction with its partners: Contractors’ State License Board, Employment Development Department, and the Department of Industrial Relations.
“When contractors violate the law and feed the underground economy, everybody suffers,” Ramos said.
An underground economy is one that includes activities where businesses fail to comply with business and consumer licensing requirements, fail to pay or underpay payroll tax and income tax, engage in unfair labor practices such as wage theft, paying under the table, denying insurance benefits, and failure to acquire workers’ compensation insurance or making fraudulent misrepresentations to insurers in order to gain a competitive advantage over competitors who comply with all legal requirements.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud units conducts on average 200 investigations a year and generally has 60-70 cases pending in court.
“We acquire convictions in over ninety percent of our cases,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Fagan, who oversees the unit. “In the past three years we have secured restitution orders in excess of $2.45 million. We have also provided outreach training on workers’ compensation insurance fraud issues to over 2000 people in the last three years.”