A brother and sister who run a construction company in Paramount are facing fraud charges for allegedly causing at least $6 million in losses to the state’s workers’ compensation program and underpaying employees on a student housing renovation project at UCLA.
Enrique Vera, 48, of Tarzana, who owns Ultimate Inc., is charged with four felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and three felony counts of grand theft of labor, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
His sister, Gloria Vera, 57, the company’s office manager, is charged with five felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and three felony counts each of insurance fraud and grand theft of labor.
The siblings allegedly submitted altered payroll records to the State Compensation Insurance Fund to pay a lower premium on the construction company’s workers’ compensation insurance, according to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Hartman.
He said the two are also accused of making false and fraudulent statements with the intent to discourage injured workers from claiming workers’ compensation benefits or pursuing claims, with Gloria Vera allegedly failing to disclose and concealing employees’ on-the-job injuries that entitled them to workers’ compensation.
The brother and sister also allegedly underpaid employees the prevailing wage that the company was required to pay as a contractor for the UCLA student housing renovation project, the prosecutor said.
The criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between January 2012 and March 2017.
Enrique Vera faces up to 15 years in state prison if convicted as charged, while his sister could face a maximum of 19 years behind bars, according to the District Attorney’s Office.