LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The owner and manager of a South El Monte-based poultry processing company were charged today with insurance fraud and wage theft for allegedly under-reporting their payroll to workers' compensation insurance carriers and failing to pay their employees as required by law.
Feng Wu Lam, the owner of Golden Food Inc., and her husband, Wei Wen Wu, who is the company's manager, are set to be arraigned March 29 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on 43 felony counts each, including grand theft of labor, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit wage theft, along with two misdemeanor counts each of wage theft, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Lam, 49, and Wu, 54, are accused of underreporting their payroll to their workers' compensation insurance carriers by about $4.5 million between 2015 and 2019, allegedly resulting in unlawfully avoiding about $1.7 million in workers' compensation insurance premiums, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The two are also accused of underpaying at least $437,542 to their 34 employees who de-bone and package chicken, according to the District Attorney's Office.
In a statement announcing the case, District Attorney George Gascón said, ``Wage theft takes hard-earned money away from working people and their families. Unfair business practices like this affect not just workers but also hurt our community by putting law-abiding employers at a competitive disadvantage.''
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara noted in the statement that ``Workers' compensation fraud can lead to higher insurance premiums for employers who follow the rules and may ultimately hurt workers who are legitimately injured on the job.''
The case is being prosecuted by the District Attorney's Healthcare Fraud Division, with investigative assistance from the state Labor Commission and California Department of Insurance.