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Fernando Rodriguez, 47, of Salinas, has admitted that he failed to secure workers’ compensation insurance for his employees, a criminal offense in violation of the Labor Code. Rodriguez, who owns Zavala’s Transmission in Salinas, was immediately sentenced and placed on probation by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Elisabeth Mineta.

Investigators contacted Rodriguez on Feb. 20 during a compliance check on employers who were suspected of not having workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, prosecutors said. The operation was organized and led by the District Attorney investigators from the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit. Assisting in the operation were investigators from the California Department of Insurance.

District Attorney Investigator Christy Gunter investigated the case and discovered that, in addition to not having workers’ compensation insurance, Rodriguez was not registered as an employer with California’s Employment Development Department, did not have a Salinas business license and was operating an unregistered auto repair shop, the DA’s office said.

Prior to his court plea, Rodriguez obtained all of the necessary licenses, registered with EDD and obtained workers’ compensation insurance. The judge took all this into consideration at sentencing, prosecutors said. Rodriguez was placed on misdemeanor probation for a period of three years. Along with standard terms and conditions of probation, he was ordered to serve one day in Monterey County Jail and pay a substantial fine.