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Underground Economy Unit

The Attorney General works to protect California's workers, legitimate businesses, and taxpayers through the Underground Economy Unit.

The Underground Economy Unit brings civil and criminal actions against persons engaged in the underground economy. The Unit has used California's Unfair Competition law to obtain restitution of unpaid wages, civil penalties, and injunctions to bring businesses into compliance with applicable labor and employment, tax, and licensing laws.

The Unit's enforcement efforts are directed at deterring underground economy violations, recapturing lost revenues, and protecting workers and legitimate businesses from illegal and predatory enterprises. It has prosecuted cases involving: wage, tax, and insurance issues including the theft of wages, unpaid overtime, denial of breaks, and misclassification of employees as independent contractors; patterns of safety violations leading to fatal workplace injuries; workers' compensation insurance premium fraud; and the illegal avoidance of workers' compensation coverage for employees.

The Underground Economy Unit works closely with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including the Department of Industrial Relations and the Contractors State License Board. It also coordinates its efforts with other sections of the Attorney General's Office, including those responsible for Consumer Protection and Antitrust & Business Competition.

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