A San Jose police officer who lives in Morgan Hill has been charged with multiple felonies connected to his use of his private security company to commit fraud, cheat on his taxes, steal wages and launder about $18 million, according to authorities.
Robert Foster, 47, owner of Atlas Private Security, surrendered to police last week and will be arraigned Nov. 30 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Foster’s wife and eight more employees of Atlas Security are charged with four counts of felony conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, money laundering and wage theft, plus 39 additional felonies including extortion and a white-collar crime enhancement, authorities said. They face prison time if convicted.
Foster has been charged with felony counts of tax evasion, insurance fraud, wage theft and money laundering, according to the DA’s office.
Foster and his co-defendants allegedly reduced insurance premiums and taxes by reporting false and inaccurate payroll, underreporting headcount, paying employees off the books and underreporting employee injuries, authorities said.
In one case, a worker was allegedly threatened with deportation if she spoke with attorneys about her rights under compensation laws after suffering a workplace injury.
The arrest comes days after DA Jeff Rosen announced a series of justice reforms that included creating a Workers Exploitation Task Force that will investigate cases 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.”
The six-month investigation into Atlas Private Security was spearheaded by DA’s Bureau of Investigation in collaboration with the California Department of Insurance, Employment Development Department, Department of Justice Bureau of Medical Fraud and Elder Abuse and U.S. Department of Labor.
The probe showed that Foster hid about $8 million in payroll over three years and dodged about $578,716.56 in tax liability and $560,293 in insurance premiums, investigators said. To pull off the scheme, Atlas allegedly laundered about $18 million.
The co-conspirators used and traded on Foster’s position as an active-duty San Jose police officer and self-described expert in detecting lies to further their business interests, authorities said. Yet, Foster allegedly failed to disclose to SJPD that he owned and operated Atlas or that such ownership could result in ethical conflicts.