California justice department files embezzlement charges against labor union executive
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California justice department files embezzlement charges against labor union executive

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday that the state’s Justice Department filed criminal charges against the executive director of SEIU California, the largest labor union in the state.

The complaint filed by the California Department of Justice charged executive director Alma Hernandez and her husband Jose Moscoso with embezzlement and fraud. The department claims that Hernandez, while serving as the treasurer of the Working Families for Solorio for Senate 2014 PAC, approved and issued two checks from the PAC’s bank account to Moscoso for services he did not provide. The complaint also alleges underreporting of Hernandez’s and Moscoso’s income from 2014 to 2019 and claims that Moscoso’s air duct cleaning business failed to report employees’ wages from 2017 to 2020.

In total, Hernandez faces two counts of grand theft, one count of perjury and five counts of filing a false income tax return with the intent to evade. Moscoso faces five counts of filing a false income tax return with the intent to evade, one count of failure to file a report with the Employment Development Department, one count of failure to pay unemployment insurance and training tax, one count of failure to pay disability insurance, one count of failure to file employment tax returns with intent to evade paying taxes, and one count of failure to collect and pay personal income tax. Together, the couple stands to lose over $100,000 through a special allegation of aggravated white-collar crime.

In a statement, California Attorney General Bonta said:

Labor unions are an integral part of what makes California strong. Unions are working people standing together to demand fair wages, quality healthcare, a safe work environment, and the ability to retire with dignity. Working people deserve leaders they can depend on to help them achieve these goals at the bargaining table and through political advocacy, but also leaders they can trust. When there is reason to believe trust has been broken and crimes have been committed, we have an ethical duty to investigate – we owe that to the people of California. Thank you to our state partners for their collaborative partnership.

The charges against Hernandez and Moscoso stem from the findings of a multiagency investigation, consisting of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation, the state justice department’s Special Investigations Team, the multiagency TRUE Task Force, which includes the Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department and the Fair Political Practices Commission. The state justice department will handle the prosecution of Hernandez and Moscoso.