California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) unveiled legislation to crackdown underground economic crimes that affect vulnerable Californians.
Becerra sponsored the Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy (TRUE Act) also known as AB 1296. Gonzalez introduced the bill in the state Assembly.
The Attorney General is committed to combating underground economy. In April, he sponsored Senate Bill 1272 to make the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force permanent.
Last year, Becerra announced that California through the TRaCE Task Force recovered lost state revenues from a family operating an underground pharmaceutical business and selling counterfeit merchandise.
Additionally, the TRUE Team’s year-long investigation led to the charges against care home owners for human trafficking and labor abuses, last year.
In 2014, the Attorney General’s office created the TRUE Team pilot program, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting underground economic crimes in Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Expanding task force responsible for investigating underground economic crimes
In a statement Friday, Becerra said the AB 1296 will expand California’s successful efforts in prosecuting and recovering funds from entities engaged in wage theft, tax evasion, counterfeit commerce, and other economic crimes.
The bill will make the TRUE Team permanent and authorizes the creation of additional teams in the Bay Area, Fresno, and San Diego.
“With underground economic crime, our workers get exploited, business owners face unfair competition, consumers get ripped off, and taxpayers bear the burden,” said the Attorney General.
On the other hand, Gonzalez said, “The underground economy hurts everyone: workers who are left without protection, consumers who are sold dangerous or fake products and the state as we lose tax money.”
In addition, the state lawmaker said, “This task force is a unique, collaborative approach for law enforcement to breakdown its usual silos and executes wider solutions for targeting the underground economy.”