California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday announced charges of violations of human rights, worker rights, tax evasion and possession of illegal weapons against owners and operators of daycare facilities in the Bay Area.
Fifty-nine criminal charges were filed against four members of the Gamos family, who owned and operated Rainbow Bright, which has four adult care facilities and two child care facilities in South San Francisco, Daly City and Pacifica, according to the attorney general.
Joshua, 42; Noel, 40; Gerlen, 38; and Carlina Gamos, 67, employed mostly Filipino immigrants to take care of the adults and children in its facilities, and it was the workers who "helped bring this case to light," Becerra said at a news conference Friday.
Twenty-six of the charges were for grand theft of wages and labor, which the attorney general said totals at approximately $8.5 million.
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The number of workers who were cheated of fair wages during the 10-year period of Rainbow Bright's operation could be in the hundreds, according to Becerra. The daycare also failed to pay its fair share of state income taxes, worker's compensation and insurance.
Eight of the charges are for human trafficking and violence, and another three are for rape.
Officials also discovered 14 illegal assault weapons, including a loaded firearm on a table underneath a blanket at a child care facility that was also the suspects' residence.
Under the year-long investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force, investigators found that the suspects took away workers' passports and forced them to work nearly 24 hours a day.
Workers slept on floors in garages in the homes that also operated as daycare facilities, Becerra said. The workers were locked outside sometimes in the rain when the owners were not home.
"The charges against the Gamos family members are despicable. We must not turn a blind eye to abusive labor practices. Report it, and we will investigate and prosecute," Becerra said.