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San Jose flooring company owner sentenced for shorting workers $1 million in overtime wages

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SAN JOSE — The owner of a San Jose flooring company has been sentenced to four months in jail — and ordered to pay over $580,000 in restitution — after failing to pay his employees $1 million in overtime wages.

An investigation showed the flooring company’s owner, 35-year-old Martin Helda, had shorted his employees to avoid paying $140,000 in insurance premiums, according to a statement released by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday.

“Whatever you think you might be saving in the short term will cost you a lot more than money in the long term. Fraud doesn’t pay,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the statement.

The investigation began after an insurance audit found the company’s payroll did not match the number of employees at All Bay Area Floors, Helda’s company. The investigation later found that overtime wages were held from at least 18 staff members, including one who was owed $60,000.

Still, the District Attorney’s Office said the total owed to employees could be up to $1.7 million, suggesting that there was theft left uncovered by the investigation.

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