Saratoga Business Owners Convicted of Felony Wage Theft, Fraud After Luring Employees From Abroad - NBC Bay Area
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Saratoga Business Owners Convicted of Felony Wage Theft, Fraud After Luring Employees From Abroad

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    Saratoga Business Owners Convicted of Felony Wage Theft, Fraud After Luring Employees From Abroad
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    Three business owners in Saratoga were convicted Wednesday for labor theft and fraud in 2015 after luring employees from Spain to the Bay Area, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office reported.

    Pedro Barea-Riva, 48, Maria Esther Narbona-Sanchez, 48, and Paulino O'Farril, 51, operated TapaOle restaurant at 18818 Cox Avenue and Utopik salon at 14329 Saratoga Sunnyvale Road, which have both since closed.

    Before the employees were hired, the defendants told employees they would be given steady jobs paying thousands of dollars a month with rent-free housing, prosecutors said.

    The business owners then paid one employee $5 an hour, and withheld wages from another after telling her to come to the Bay Area illegally through Canada. She was caught at the border and couldn't pay back her bail fast enough, so the business owners made her work for free, prosecutors said.

    Additionally, employers stole social security numbers to open bank accounts, took out an $800,000 mortgage and filed a bankruptcy claim under the stolen identities.

    One defendant was also convicted of receiving welfare from San Mateo County while owning a home, salon and restaurant in Santa Clara County.

    The employers will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Sept. 20 in Department 30 of the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, 190 West Hedding St, San Jose.

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