The United States Attorney’s Office says it is continuing its criminal investigation into Marcus Asay and Antonio Gastelum’s actions concerning the illegal “workers’ comp” program offered first by the American Labor Alliance and later by Omega Community Labor Alliance.
Additional charges are possible. The government says it aims to wrap up the investigation in the next two months. It has been dragging on for years.
“The government anticipates completing any additional investigation by approximately April 2021 and finalizing a decision regarding seeking additional charges from the grand jury at that time,” according to a recent filing in the ongoing criminal prosecution. Department of Justice officials declined to elaborate on what is under consideration.
Federal officials indicted ALA’s founder Asay and Gastelum, the program’s financial officer, more than two years ago. A superseding indictment came down last fall and built on the original conspiracy and mail fraud charges levied against ALA, Asay, and Gastelum, to add two money laundering charges against Asay as well as wire fraud charges. The feds are seeking criminal forfeiture of at least $2.8 million through the case.
The federal action is in addition to ongoing cases with the California Department of Insurance. Gastelum was recently back under oath in a penalty hearing with the Department’s administrative hearing bureau, fighting the state’s proposed $4.3 million penalties against ALA. He claims there is no money to pay such a penalty.
But Gastelum confirmed that Omega is continuing to collect payments from employers it claims to cover. He said it intends to continue doing so.
Still to come is a decision in Omega Community’s appeal of the state’s cease and desist order against its operations – the third cease and desist order issued by the Department. Evidentiary hearings were held 17 months ago, and additional penalties may be levied if it is found to be operating in violation of state law. A decision is expected later this spring.