San Jose Business Owner Jailed for Failing to Pay Overtime

The San Jose owner of a flooring company was sentenced last week to four months in the Santa Clara County Jail and ordered to pay over $580,000 in restitution for fraud, after being caught lowballing his payroll to avoid paying thousands of dollars in insurance premiums.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office reported that an investigation showed Martin Helda, 35, of San Jose, had shorted his All Bay Area Floor payroll avoiding $140,000 in insurance premiums and didn’t pay his employees about a $1 million in owed overtime.

Helda pleaded guilty to three fraud counts, including Workers Compensation Premium Fraud, Employment Development Department fraud and wage theft.

In addition to paying restitution to victims, he was sentenced to four months in jail and 200 hours of community service.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “Whatever you think you might be saving in the short term will cost you a lot more than money in the long term. Fraud doesn’t pay.”

The investigation began after an insurance audit revealed that Helda’s payroll did not match the number of people he had working for him. As part of Rosen’s reforms, this case was worked in conjunction with the newly formed Workers’ Exploitation Task Force. DA Investigators used partnerships with the Department of Industrial Relations and the State Labor Commission to find justice for victims of wage theft.

The investigation revealed that Helda withheld time-and-a-half overtime wages to at least 18 employees, including one employee who was owed approximately $60,000. However, there could be as much as $1.7 million owed to all employees including those not known to investigators.

If you believe you are a victim in this matter, you may file a wage claim on the Labor Commissioner’s Office website..

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