SANTA ANA– On October 7, 2016, an Orange County business owner was sentenced to a year in county jail for committing more than $200,000 in tax fraud and failing to pay employees prevailing wage for work performed on two public works contracts.
Shamseddin Hashemi-Mousavi, 64, Irvine, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 7, 2015 of 37 felony counts including:
- taking and receiving a portion of worker’s wage on public works,
- attempted taking and receiving a portion of worker’s wage on public works,
- recording false and forged instruments,
- and willful failure to pay tax.
At his sentencing one year later, he was also sentenced to five years of formal probation and it is expected he will be ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution.
At the time of the crimes, Hashemi-Mousavi owned AAA-HVAC, an Orange County-based heating and air conditioning business. Between 2009 and 2012, Hashemi-Mousavi applied for and received two public works contracts in Los Angeles County. For these projects, the defendant fraudulently paid several of his employees less than prevailing wage in cash or by check and kept the extra money owed to his employees for himself.
Hashemi-Mousavi forged, falsified, and submitted bank records to fraudulently show that his employees had been paid their prevailing wage. The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Contract Administration (LA BCA) discovered this fraud and recovered money for the workers. The California Department of Industrial Relations assisted with the investigation of Hashemi-Mousavi who willfully failed to pay his tax to the Employment Development Department. In all, he committed more than $200,000 in fraud.
“This joint enforcement action sends a message to all employers who attempt to cheat their workers out of hard-earned pay. We stand ready to protect both the workers who get bilked out of a just day’s pay for a hard day’s work, as well as every honest employer who plays by the rules and gets undercut by unethical business owners,” said California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.
"The State of California employs hundreds of investigators, sworn and non-sworn, whose job it is to protect employees, employers and consumers," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Alan Barcelona. "These investigators and their work often go unnoticed by the citizens of this state, but they, and the investigations they conduct, are a mighty force in stopping illegal activity and in the prosecution of those who commit this type of crime."