For release on May 19, 2015   CONTACT:
Bud Porter, Deputy District Attorney
Workplace Safety Unit
(408) 792-2962   CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNER, MANAGER CONVICTED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER OF WORKER IN MILPITAS   A jury today convicted a construction company owner and project manager for causing the 2012 cave-in death of a laborer in Milpitas.   The guilty verdict came at the conclusion of a rare trial aimed at holding an employer criminally responsible for the death of an employee on the job.
 
Richard Liu, 53, of Fremont, the company’s owner and CEO, and Dan Luo, 36, of Fremont, the project manager, were both convicted of involuntary manslaughter of Raul Zapata, 39, of Zacatecas, Mexico. They will be sentenced by the Hon. William Monahan on July 17 at 10 a.m. in Department 16. They face a maximum of four years in prison.
 
“By cutting corners on worker safety, the defendants gambled with the lives of other human beings,” prosecutor Bud Porter said. “Their reckless gamble caused the needless death of Mr. Zapata.”
 
Zapata was in his second week working on the hillside project, where a home was being built by the general contractor, U.S.-Sino Investment Inc., of Fremont.    On January 25, 2012, after a recent downpour, a city building inspector gave a “Stop Work” notice to the project manager because of the danger of a cave-in of the unsupported dirt walls. The work did not stop. Three days later, Zapata was crushed to death when several thousand pounds of dirt and rock fell on him.   Zapata is survived by his wife and three young children.   ###

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