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The California Insurance Commissioner announced the resolution of criminal charges filed against Golden Food, Inc (GFI). a chicken processing business located in South El Monte.

It entered into a plea agreement after an investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO).

CDI received a referral from SCIF, who suspected the business of fraud after comparing the payroll reported during annual audits with the payroll reported to the Employment Development Department.

CDI obtained a search warrant for GFI’s building and was able to obtain true payroll records from the employer’s computer, as well as fake tax reporting forms that it used to perpetrate its fraud. The investigation led to 43 felony counts of insurance fraud, grand theft, and conspiracy against Lam and Wu.

The business, owned by Feng Wen Lam and operated by her husband Wei Wu, was accused of underreporting its payroll to its workers’ compensation insurance carriers by $4,489,390.55 between 2015 and 2021.

This resulted in a loss of $1,681,138.80 in unpaid insurance premiums to four insurance companies, including the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).

The LCO’s parallel investigation uncovered significant wage theft over many years. The company admitted to a litany of labor violations, which includes over $437,000 in stolen wages to be paid back to more than 30 California workers.

Employees were forced to clock out for breaks and continue to work, were not paid overtime pay for work in excess of 40 weekly hours, and their pay stubs were falsified. Wu routinely deducted work hours from employees and falsely counted that pay as a bonus. An audit by LCO found that Lam and Wu failed to pay at least $437,542.56 in labor to their 34 employees based on the minimum legal market value.