California raid shines spotlight on assisted living wage and hour violations

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Assisted living communities in California are in the spotlight again for wage and hour violations.

In the latest case, investigators from the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office raided the home of the owner of several residential care facilities for the elderly there on Feb. 1, saying she continued to violate wage and hour rules while on probation for similar offenses.

Florinda Yamboa, 63, was arrested in September 2014 and was convicted in February 2015 of felony grand theft of employee wages, felony tax fraud for failing to file tax returns, and misdemeanor workers' compensation insurance fraud. At that time, she received three years of probation, was ordered to serve 60 days in county jail and was required to pay $453,000 in restitution for wage theft as well as additional restitution related to the tax charges.

Four residential care home owners of a total of 19 homes were affected by the September 2014 raids by the office of the DA for the county, east of San Francisco. The DA's office said that workers at the homes commonly work long hours for less than minimum wage, live in substandard conditions and are forced to care for residents during their time off. A spokesman for the office told McKnight's Senior Living Feb. 5 that investigators currently are looking into 10 or 11 owners of a total of approximately 50 residential care homes across the area.

Yamboa, he said, will remain in custody until a probation violation hearing in two to three weeks related to her alleged continued wage and hour rule violations. “There's a potential new criminal case,” he said, “or maybe it will be handled as a probation violation.”

Days before the latest raid involving Yamboa, the DA's office reached a plea deal with Sara Abraham and Julio Sanchez, owners of Abraham Rest Home and Sanchez Abraham Corp. in Contra Costa County. The two also had been charged in September 2014; the office accused them of committing eight felonies and two misdemeanors related to wage theft and tax and insurance violations. Abraham and Sanchez were ordered to pay $1 million in restitution, serve three years of probation and wear ankle bracelets for 60 days.

Such offenses are not limited to the northern part of the state.

Further south, in January the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found that St. James Home for the Elderly, Glendora, CA, violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act at seven sites. The Los Angeles County company “paid the employees only for their scheduled hours, and failed to pay for any time spent caring for patients or performing other work-related duties before or after their scheduled shifts,” according to the labor department. “Failing to pay for this time resulted in employees not receiving their legally required overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The firm also failed to keep an accurate record of hours worked.”

St. James was ordered to pay $103,724 to employees for the overtime violations.

See the links under “Related Articles” below for other recent cases in California.

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