Katharina L. Wells, Deputy District Attorney
Insurance Fraud Unit
Economic Crimes Group
For release on December 12, 2011
OWNER OF VINCENT SOTTO LANDSCAPING, INC. AND VINCENT LANDSCAPING, INC. CHARGED WITH WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE PREMIUM FRAUD
An investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has lead to the arrest of Vincente Sotto, 66, of Milpitas, for workers’ compensation insurance fraud and employment tax fraud. Sotto has been charged with four felonies involving workers’ compensation insurance fraud and seven felony employment tax violations. He was arrested on December 9, 2011.
Vincent Sotto owns and operates Vincent Sotto Landscaping and Vincent Landscaping. These businesses provide residential and commercial landscaping services throughout the Bay Area.
To protect workers, California law requires all businesses with employees to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance premium is assessed based on a number of factors including the nature of the business, safety record, and the employees’ wages as reported by the employer. It is alleged that between 2007 and 2011, Sotto grossly underreported employees’ wages in order to fraudulently reduce workers’ compensation insurance premium and employment tax obligations, resulting in a loss of $85,000.00.
This type of fraud scheme puts workers at risk of having insufficient or no insurance coverage if they are injured on the job. Furthermore, it illegally lowers operating costs for offending businesses, thereby giving them an unfair competitive advantage over law abiding businesses.
If convicted of all counts, the defendant faces a maximum of 13 years of state prison and would be ordered to pay full restitution.