Multi-year prison sentences on human trafficking and labor-related charges were handed down Wednesday for three members of a family that owned and operated adult residential care facilities in California.
From 2008 to 2019, prosecutors said, three members of the Gamos family targeted members of the Filipino community, many of whom were recent immigrants to the United States, for human trafficking and labor exploitation. The family owned and operated Rainbow Bright, which had four adult residential care facilities and two child care facilities in San Francisco, Daly City and Pacifica, CA.
Prosecutors said the family trafficked many of the victims using threats of arrest and deportation, as well as false promises to assist with immigration and by confiscating passports.
A jury in 2022 returned 38 felony guilty verdicts with multiple enhancements and aggravating factors against the family. Charges included conspiracy to commit human trafficking, grand theft of labor, human trafficking, workers’ compensation fraud, failure to file unemployment tax returns, failure to collect or pay unemployment insurance taxes.
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge sentenced Joshua Gamos and Carlina Gamos to nine years and eight months each. Noel Gamos was sentenced to five years in prison. A restitution hearing is scheduled for March 2.
A jury found that the family took more than $500,000 in the commission of the scheme, that the victims were vulnerable and that the family “acted with intent to cause great bodily injury and with cruelty, viciousness and callousness.”
Gerlen Gamos, who previously pleaded guilty in 2019 to two counts of grand theft, will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing originally was scheduled for August 2022 but was delayed following a motion for a new trial, which was denied Jan. 31.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said the sentences “did not recognize the level of horror that the Rainbow Bright victims experienced at the hands of the Gamos family.”
“After 10 years of abuse and nearly five years of court proceedings, today’s sentencing only put them through more trauma,” Bonta said in a statement. “The victims showed resilience and courage throughout the proceedings.”
Investigators lay out case against family
Rainbow Bright employees were required to live and work in the residential care homes and daycare facilities far beyond normal work day hours, and they were forced to sleep on floors and in garages, investigators said. Some employees reported being locked outside when the family members were not home.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division launched an investigation into Rainbow Bright in 2014 following allegations about working conditions from an employee. That investigation was expanded to include the owners following an initial site visit, with a referral to law enforcement regarding suspected criminal conduct.
Arrest warrants for the Gamos family members were issued in 2018 under former California Attorney General and now U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra following a year-long investigation by the state Attorney General’s Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement Task Force and other state, federal and law enforcement agencies. While serving those arrest warrants, agents seized 14 illegal assault weapons, including three “ghost gun” rifles without serial numbers.
Former workers and supporters launched a website, Facebook page and Instagram account seeking justice for the workers.