The owner of a Westminster-based sandblasting company pleaded not guilty Thursday to stealing from his workers, according to court documents.

Pavel Osokin, owner of Tri-County Sandblasting, was charged Friday with four counts of grand theft, two counts of receipt of portion of wages of workmen, a count of making a fraudulent statement to obtain or deny compensation and three counts of failure to collect, account for or pay taxes, all felonies. The Westminster resident also faces sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime between $100,000 to $500,000.

Osokin was arrested Christmas Eve and entered a plea in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana Thursday.

A recommended bail of $200,000 was denied and Osokin was ordered released while he is pending trial. He was ordered to return to court Jan. 8 for a pretrial hearing and cannot work on public contracts for the time being.

Osokin is accused of stealing about $215,000, according to Deputy District Attorney Donde McCament. He failed to pay full benefits to his workers by “misclassifying projects,” McCament said.

The benefits alleged in the complaint include pension, medical and vacation.

The defendant allegedly paid cash to his workers to avoid payroll tax and withholdings for workers’ compensation insurance, McCament said.

An internal audit in March allegedly revealed the fraud, according to the complaint.

A message left with the defendant’s attorney, William Weinberg, was not immediately returned.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.