The owners of a California-based chicken processing plant are in hot water after being accused of orchestrating a $1.7 million workers’ compensation fraud scheme.
Wei Wen Wu and Feng Wen Lam, the husband and wife ownership team of Golden Food Inc., are charged with 43 felony counts of insurance fraud, grand theft and conspiracy after allegedly underreporting almost $4.5 million in payroll.
The underreported payroll resulted in a loss of about $1.7 million in unpaid insurance premiums, according to a California Department of Insurance news release.
The couple are scheduled to appear in court on March 29.
Fake tax documents found on computer
An investigation began after the department received a referral from the state’s Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund).
State Fund suspected the couple of fraud after comparing the payroll reported during annual audits with payroll reported to the Employment Development Department.
Investigators obtained search warrants for Golden Food’s true records and found fake tax reporting forms on the company’s computer.
The records revealed that between 2015 and 2021, the company underreported its payroll to workers’ compensation insurance carriers by $4,489,390, resulting in a loss of $1,681,138 in unpaid premiums to four insurance companies, including State Fund.
Wage theft was also discovered, resulting in additional charges brought by the California Department of Industrial Relations.