A Milpitas man has been arrested and charged with workers’ compensation insurance fraud, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office reported today.
An investigation by the DA’s office led to the arrest of 66-year-old Vincente Sotto, who has been charged with four felonies involving workers’ compensation insurance fraud and seven felony employment tax violations.
Sotto owns and operates Vincent Sotto Landscaping and Vincent Landscaping, the DA reports. His businesses provide residential and commercial landscaping services throughout the Bay Area.
California law requires all businesses with employees to maintain workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers. The insurance premium is based on a number of factors, including the nature of the business, safety record, and the employees’ wages as reported by the employer.
Prosecutors believe Sotto grossly underreported employees’ wages between 2007 and 2010 in order to fraudulently reduce his workers’ compensation insurance premium and employment tax obligations. His alleged crimes resulted in a loss of $85,000.
According to the DA, this type of fraud puts workers at risk of having insufficient or no insurance coverage at all if they are injured on the job. Additionally, it illegally lowers operating costs for offending businesses, thereby giving them an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding businesses.
If convicted on all counts, Sotto faces up to 13 years in state prison and would be ordered to pay full restitution.
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