Just this week in the county where our corporate office is based, “rampant fraud” and “pure greed” appear to be the motivations of an elder care franchise owner who will serve 60 days in jail and pay restitution after pleading guilty to theft of wages, workers compensation violations, and tax fraud in the operation of several facilities in the cities of Antioch and Brentwood.
Florinda Yambao, 62, who ran the operation, will have to pay back $453,000 in back wages to her workers.
Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson, an exceptional public servant and friend who serves in one of the state’s largest counties in Northern California had this to say –
“….the owner and boss of these care facilities, was in a position of power over her employees. She used that position to exploit the workers and line her own pockets with the cash. It was pure greed.”
According to the story in the Contra Costa Times this week, it appears that this is not an isolated instance. The county’s Employer Fraud Tax Force is investigating owners of nine other care homes that operate 40 facilities in the county.
“We were inundated with similar problems in other homes in Contra Costa County,” Murphy said. “It appears to be rampant.”
The investigation has uncovered a pattern of underground economy violations where these businesses increased their profits by avoiding taxes, insurance and fair wages, according to the Contra Costa DA’s office. The probe has also found many of the workers are mistreated, working long hours for less than minimum wage, living in substandard conditions, and being forced to care for patients during their time off, the task force said in a statement.
This link provides more information on the county’s efforts to fight elder abuse and how to report a suspected crime.
Fraudulent activity like what’s happened here can only lead to poorly run facilities, hurting elderly residents who may have to leave their homes earlier than they had hoped in the face of a catastrophic event, such as a fall.
We commend Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson and his team for their swift prosecution of these crimes. Their office motto – ”Seek justice, serve justice, do justice” is most appropriate when it comes to caring for our community’s most vulnerable.