Four California agriculture contractors accused of labor violations is the title of the article which ran on 1/14/06 in the Fresno Bee. The article summarizes a common theme of employer fraud practiced in the California agricultural counties by labor contractors. These are employers who bring workers to the farm. The farm owners do not know the terms of employment between the contractor and the workers – pay, compliance with state labor laws, etc.
According to the Bee:
The alleged misconduct resulted in an underpayment of about $900,000 in premiums to the State Compensation Insurance Fund and cheated the state out of about $676,000 in payroll taxes, according to a state Department of Insurance statement made public Friday.
The companies are suspected of misrepresenting total payroll, the number of employees and the type of work performed by employees, according to the Insurance Department..
The companies supply workers to farms in Fresno, Madera, Kern, Tulare and San Luis Obispo counties.
More than 100 workers’ compensation fraud cases have been investigated in the San Joaquin Valley in the past three years, a marked increase from previous years, said Mark Voss, chief investigator of the Fresno Fraud Division Office of the Insurance Department.