A San Jose police officer used a private security company to evade taxes, steal wages, commit insurance fraud and launder more than $18 million, authorities said Friday.
Officer Robert Foster, a 47-year-old Morgan Hill resident, used and traded on his protected status as an active-duty police officer to further his business interests — all while concealing his company from the San Jose Police Department, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office.
On Friday, prosecutors charged Foster, along with his wife, Mikaila Foster, and eight other employees at Atlas Securities, with four counts of felony conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, money laundering and wage theft, as well as 39 other felonies, including extortion.
Foster’s attorney declined to comment Friday, saying he still needed to review the case.
Over six months ago, the district attorney’s office — in collaboration with several state departments — launched a probe into the company, which Foster allegedly did not disclose to the San Jose Police Department. Police did not respond to a request for comment on the charges.
The investigation found that Foster and his employees reduced insurance premiums and taxes by reporting false and inaccurate payroll information, under-reporting head count, paying employees off the books and not reporting employee injuries, prosecutors said.
In one incident, an employee was allegedly threatened with deportation if she continued to speak to attorneys about her worker’s compensation rights after she was injured on the job.
The company also allegedly hid approximately $8.09 million in payroll over three years and avoided approximately $579,000 in tax liability and $560,000 in insurance premiums. To carry on the fraud scheme, Atlas employees allegedly laundered approximately $18.2 million.
On July 21, District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced a series of criminal and social justice reforms that included a Workers Exploitation Task Force.
“This Office will root out and prosecute anyone — whether they wear a badge or not — taking criminal advantage of workers,” Rosen said in a statement. “Our new task force will protect and heal the victims of labor trafficking, wage theft and illegal exploitation and raise awareness about how these insidious crimes are attacks on our communities of color.”