Executives of a La Mesa-based firm that buys and renovates homes for resale pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of unemployment tax evasion and a misdemeanor count of failure to have workers’ compensation insurance.
David Scott Wolfe, 48, and his company, Three Frogs Inc., along with Chief Financial Officer Jonathan D. Cox and Chief Operating Officer John Murphy, were charged last year with the tax and insurance fraud counts. Wolfe was also charged with a violation of OSHA safety standards in connection with a Nov. 12, 2013, tree-trimming accident that killed Joshua Pudsey, 42. He was trimming trees using a cherry picker outside a La Mesa home when a large branch from a 60-foot eucalyptus tree fell on him, crushing his head.
After a four-day preliminary hearing, Judge Leo Valentine ruled that Wolfe and two of his employees, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan D. Cox, 35, and Chief Operating Officer John Murphy, 36, should stand trial on felony and misdemeanor fraud charges. But the judge dismissed the felony safety standard charge against Wolfe, citing insufficient evidence.
Wolfe, Cox and Murphy are scheduled to be sentenced March 26.