Ex-San Jose officer pleads no contest to insurance fraud
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A retired San Jose Police officer who owns a security business pleaded no contest to insurance fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and worker exploitation and is expected to be sentenced to three years in jail, prosecutors said Friday.
Robert Foster, who retired from the San Jose Police Department after he was charged in the case in July 2020, owns Atlas Private Security with Mikaila Foster, his wife, who also pleaded no contest and is expected to be sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation, said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
Foster started the company, now called Genesis Private Security, without the knowledge of the police department, Rosen said.
The couple illegally reduced their insurance premiums and taxes by reporting false payroll, paying employees off-the-books, and underreporting employee injuries. The Fosters also failed to pay employees overtime and dissuaded them from reporting on-the-job injuries and wage-theft violations, Rosen said.
In one case, an “off-the-books” security guard suffered severe injuries during a crash while driving an Atlas security vehicle. Robert Foster responded to the guard’s $1 million medical bill by telling the insurance company that the guard was not an Atlas employee. Investigators found records showing that the guard was driving an Atlas vehicle and wearing an Atlas uniform at the time of the collision.
“Exploitation takes a massive toll on workers,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Our Office does not tolerate the victimization of workers and will prosecute those responsible — no matter who they are.”
The investigation also uncovered the couple used a subcontractor that had no knowledge of the employees’ hours, wages, or schedules. The other company simply moved money from the Fosters’ firm to the employees so that the Fosters could avoid paying their fair share of taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and overtime wages, Rosen said.
Robert Foster will also be ordered to repay $1.13 million to Everest National Insurance and the Employment Development Department, Rosen said. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Mikalia Foster’s sentencing is scheduled for April 29.