"He was a leader and my best friend," - Frank Capetillo, President, California Association of Criminal Investigators (CACI)
Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of Senior Special Investigator Lee Pearson, 44, of Temecula, who died February 17, 2014. Pearson, a member of the California Association of Criminal Investigators (CACI) and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), was a senior special investigator in the Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office. He helped develop the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) which was formed in February 2012.
"Lee went out of his way to help others," said CACI President Frank Capetillo. "He and I were close at DLSE. He was the lead of the newly created Criminal Investigation Unit that he and I both dreamt would one day be created. I am happy that he got to see his dream come true."
Pearson joined DLSE as a senior special investigator in the San Bernardino office in 2001. As a sworn peace officer for the State of California, Pearson worked to investigate employers involved in wage theft and other criminal activities against workers. He played a vital role in the efforts to step up the enforcement of labor laws, helping both workers and law-abiding business owners. He conducted investigations, arrests, the filing of criminal charges, serving subpoenas and inspection warrants.
"A DLSE investigator is a hero in the eyes of any employee who has ever been taken advantage of or cheated by a business owner," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Investigators such as Lee Pearson, have a passion and dedication to upholding labor laws. They investigate workers’ compensation violations, theft of labor, payment of wages with bounced checks, unlicensed farm labor contractors and garment manufacturers, kickbacks on public works projects and violations involving minors on the job."
Prior to providing his law enforcement expertise to the State of California, Pearson protected the citizens of San Diego as a San Diego police officer. He began his law enforcement career with the San Diego County Marshals upon graduation from San Diego State University in 1991.
"Lee always had a smile on his face and made everyone around him laugh with his silly practical jokes," said Capetillo. "He loved spending time with his three sons and his high school sweetheart-wife. Those of us who had the honor to meet Lee, know that he can never be replaced. He will be missed. Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time."