SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s Office announced a retired San Jose Police officer was convicted of a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
48-year-old Robert Foster, of Morgan Hill, pleaded no contest to a series of felony fraud charges on Friday, including $1.13 million in insurance fraud and $18 million in money laundering to cover it up, tax evasion, and worker exploitation.
“Exploitation takes a massive toll on workers,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Our Office does not tolerate the victimization of workers and will prosecute those responsible – no matter who they are.”
Foster is the owner of Atlas Private Security, now Genesis Security, with his wife, Makaila Foster, 46, who also pleaded no contest to a variety of related fraud charges.
A six-month investigation discovered that the couple reduced their insurance premiums and taxes by reporting false and inaccurate payroll, underreporting headcount, paying employees off-the-books, and underreporting employee injuries.
According to the County DA’s Office, the Fosters failed to pay employees overtime and dissuaded those employees from accurately reporting on-the-job injuries and wage-theft violations.
In one instance, an “off-the-books” security guard suffered severe injuries during a crash while driving an Atlas security vehicle.
The retired police officer responded to the guard’s $1 million medical bill by telling the insurance company that the guard was not an Atlas employee.
Investigators were able to find records showing that the guard was driving an Atlas vehicle and wearing an Atlas uniform at the time of the collision.
The probe also revealed that the couple allegedly hid millions of dollars of payroll through a “complex subcontractor masking scheme.”
Employees were allegedly paid by a different security company, which had no knowledge of the employees’ hours, wages, or schedules.
Instead, the other company moved money from the Fosters’ firm to the employees so that the Fosters could avoid paying their fair share of taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and overtime wages.
The County DA’s Office said the retired police officer owned the business without the knowledge of the SJPD.
Foster is set to be sentenced on February 25 and his wife will be sentenced on April 29.
Additionally, Foster will repay $1.13 million to Everest National Insurance and the Employment Development Department in addition to a general order of restitution.