OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the filing of criminal charges in Sacramento County Superior Court against Alma Hernandez and Jose Moscoso as a result of a multiagency investigation by the Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy (TRUE) Task Force. The California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Investigation began looking into the married couple after an investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) revealed Hernandez, who was the Executive Director of SEIU California, allegedly embezzled money from an SEIU California-sponsored political action committee (PAC). The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) uncovered alleged underreporting of Hernandez's and Moscoso's income from 2014 to 2019. The Employment Development Department (EDD) also identified that Moscoso’s air duct cleaning business allegedly failed to report employees’ wages from 2017 to 2020.
“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,” said Attorney General Bonta. “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."
“I’m proud of the work done by FPPC Investigator Ann Flaherty and our team, working in conjunction with the team from the Attorney General’s Office and the Franchise Tax Board, in assembling this case. We always work closely with the Attorney General’s Office and other entities to ensure campaign finance laws are followed and campaign funds are used in the spirit they’re given, that is, to be used for political activity rather than personal gain,” said FPPC Chief of Enforcement Angela Brereton. “Every campaign should know that it holds money in a form of public trust, that it will be used as intended. It’s unfortunate when that trust is violated, especially at a time when confidence in the system is already being questioned. We hope by holding people accountable, we can restore faith into the integrity of our political system.”
Hernandez previously served as the treasurer of the Working Families for Solorio for Senate 2014 PAC. The complaint alleges that in October 2014, two checks totaling $11,700 were approved by Hernandez and issued by the PAC’s bank account to Moscoso for services he did not provide.
According to the complaint, Moscoso and Hernandez also allegedly filed false joint income tax returns when they underreported $1,427,874 of income to the FTB for tax years 2014 through 2018. The couple are alleged to owe $143,483 in unpaid income tax.
According to court documents, Moscoso allegedly did not disclose to EDD that he employed multiple individuals to work in his air duct cleaning business, resulting in more than $300,000 in unreported wages. Additionally, from 2017 through 2020, Moscoso allegedly failed to file quarterly reports with EDD and failed to pay more than $16,000 in employment taxes.
Hernandez faces two counts of grand theft, one count of perjury and five counts of filing a false income tax return with intent to evade. Moscoso is also charged with five counts of filing a false income tax return with 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. Both Hernandez and Moscoso are charged with a special allegation of aggravated white collar crime with loss over $100,000.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation, DOJ's Special Investigations Team, the multiagency TRUE Task Force which includes the FTB and EDD, and the FPPC. The Bureau of Investigation provides statewide expert investigative services to enhance public safety in the areas of organized crime, consumer fraud protection, cyber-crimes, and any crime or civil action of statewide importance to the Attorney General. TRUE includes attorneys, investigators, and special agents from the DOJ, FTB, EDD, as well as the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Through multiagency collaboration, the TRUE Task Force agencies work to combat wage theft, tax evasion, and other crimes in the underground economy. DOJ will handle the prosecution of the defendants.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
A copy of the complaint is available here.