A father and son were convicted of embezzling over $300,000 from employee wages on public works jobs. Daniel Jacob Siapin, 60, and his son Gabriel Daniel Siapin, 37, both of La Habra Heights, pleaded guilty to a court offer of 28 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of worker’s wage on public works, and 32 felony counts of recording a false and forged instrument with a sentencing enhancement for property loss over $200,000.
At the time of the crime, Daniel Siapin owned Siapin Horticulture, a landscaping, irrigation, and maintenance company, which he ran with his son Gabriel Siapin.
Daniel Siapin’s California state contractor’s license was revoked by the court. Daniel Siapin and Gabriel Siapin are each expected to sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years formal probation, ordered to pay over $227,000 in restitution, and are prohibited from working on any other public works contracts at their sentencing on April 11, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The defendants violated the law on a public works job, which requires a minimum “prevailing wage” be paid to workers. Prevailing wage consists of a base salary and “fringe benefits,” or benefits in addition to base pay such as vacation pay and pension money. Fringe benefits must be paid directly to the worker or may be put into a fund for later withdrawal by the worker if they do not work a full 40 hours a week.
In June 2010, both Daniel and Gabriel Siapin met with employees and offered to contract with a third party administrator to hold the employees’ fringe benefits in a savings account. However they failed to deposit over $300,000 in employee fringe benefits into the savings account from work performed in Orange County and other Southern California counties. The defendants instead embezzled the money meant for employee fringe benefits.
“Prevailing wage laws ensure that workers on public works projects are paid a just day’s pay for a hard day’s work, and those who violate those laws engage in wage theft,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “Wage theft is a crime and my office is working with District Attorneys across the State to investigate and prosecute these cases. I am proud of and grateful for our collaboration with the Orange County District Attorney to bring scofflaw employers to justice.”