Anaheim, CA – The California Department of Insurance recently announced that Bobby Levell Gilbert, Jr. of Santa Ana and owner of B & J Tree Service, has been charged with 96 felony counts for alleged wage theft, denial of workers’ compensation benefits to employees, workers’ compensation fraud, failure to pay taxes and perjury.
Gilbert’s Office Manager, Bertha Rubi Sanchez of Anaheim has also been charged with multiple felonies for her alleged role in committing these crimes. Gilbert and Sanchez’ arraignment was continued until December 13, 2023.
“Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law in order to ensure that injured employees can receive the care they need,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Cases like this one are particularly egregious, employees were not only put at great risk, but they were denied their hard earned wages. We remain committed to working with our partners, including the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Employment Development Department, and the Department of Industrial Relations to ensure employees get the protections they deserve.”
An investigation by the Department of Insurance revealed that Gilbert took advantage of his workers by denying them what they rightfully earned or were entitled to, for his own enrichment. In total, 32 workers were identified that were either denied the wages they had earned through their hard work, or the workers’ compensation benefits they were entitled to when injured on the job, or both.
According to Department Detectives, between October 2013 and August 2021, Gilbert and Sanchez conspired together to underreport payroll to their insurance carriers by approximately $1.3 million. The failure to report employee payroll resulted in the illegal reduction of workers’ compensation insurance premiums, leading to approximately $248,757 in premium owed. The underreported payroll also resulted in an unpaid payroll tax to Employment Development Department of approximately $140,485.
This is a joint investigation with Employment Development Department, Department of Industrial Relations and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.
Both Gilbert and Sanchez self-surrendered September 29, 2023.