San Jose security firm accused of failing to pay workers while receiving over $ 400,000 in PPP loans – CBS San Francisco

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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A San Jose-based security company is accused of failing to pay its employees, after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in government aid during the pandemic.

Connie Maddox was thrilled to start her new full-time job filing reports for Custom Security Services last February. But she told KPIX 5 that feeling was short-lived.

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“I am absolutely, positively a disgruntled former employee, yes,” Maddox said. “But with reasons. Good, valid reasons.

One week in April, Maddox said her boss, Dareyn Lanier, told her he was unable to pay her on time.

“He came to me and told me that they were having trouble collecting one of the clients who owed him $ 40,000 and he couldn’t write any checks yet,” Maddox recalls.

A few days later, she said that Lanier finally handed her a check for her typical salary of $ 1,288.32. But days after cashing it, Maddox claims his bank returned the check for insufficient funds.

Maddox said Lanier promised to write him another check.

“So he wrote me a check on Saturday, which I thought again, ‘Well, he would never deliberately write a check a second time knowing he has no funds,'” she said. declared. “Well it bounced back and I ended up with over $ 600 in overdraft fees.”

Maddox claims she started a full-time job at another company because she couldn’t financially rely on custom security services, but agreed to continue working for Lanier as long as she could work. home.

The two, Maddox claims, then had a disagreement over the arrangement, which ultimately led to her leaving the company several weeks ago.

When she went to cash her last check, Maddox said he bounced back as well.

“He’s not a nice guy,” she said.

Maddox is far from the only Customized Security Systems employee with similar wage violation claims.

Leo Sanchez, a former company security guard, said Lanier did not pay him around $ 10,000 in regular pay, for holidays and overtime. Sanchez worked for the company for half a decade, he said. At one point, Lanier allegedly failed to pay Sanchez $ 1,500 in 2017 and said he would pay Sanchez in monthly installments of $ 100.

“I asked him ‘Where’s my money’ and he said ‘Later, and later’,” Sanchez told KPIX 5. “I work every vacation, never pay me overtime, time and time. half, never pay me.

According to Google and Yelp reviews of the babysitting company, located at 888 N. 1st Street, several former employees shared similar experiences with Lanier.

On Google, a review published a year ago said “this company does not pay you”.

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On Yelp, Jonathan M. wrote “they pay you late every time”.

Rhonda left a review that said “having problems working … not recommending”.

Another person by the name of Aprim wrote that the company “paid three days, five days, seven days late.”

Aprim is on the list of pay violation complaints filed against Customized Security Services, which was provided to KPIX 5 by the California Office of the Labor Commissioner.

Maddox is also included in the claims, the case of which is labeled “under investigation”.

“I’m still strapped for cash,” Maddox said. “My daughter is taking me shopping tomorrow as I have been eating carrots, celery and ranch dressing for dinner and lunch for the past three days.”

Steven Cohn, senior attorney for the Advocacy Center for Employment Law, said many employers struggled to pay their employees during the pandemic, which is why Congress approved the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loans.

“These programs were designed to keep workers paid and keep them on the payroll,” Cohn said.

According to records, Customized Security Services received a PPP loan in the amount of $ 233,215 in May 2020. The company received a second PPP loan of $ 212,500 in January 2021, just a month before Maddox was hired.

“If they’ve taken out loans to secure payment, they don’t necessarily rely on payment from their customers,” Cohn told KPIX 5. “So where did that money go?”

Cohn said if a company isn’t paid by its customers, that’s still not a reason for not paying its employees on time.

” Absolutely not. The workers are not the financial security of the company, ”Cohn said. “I think it’s just awful, I feel bad for Connie and her family.”

The financial troubles don’t end there for Lanier. The California Tax Franchise Board has confirmed with KPIX 5 that Customized Security Services is not in good standing with the agency for failing to file tax returns and failing to pay its tax obligations. The company has an outstanding balance of $ 22,990.

Maddox said she was finally able to get her last paycheck back after she emailed, texted and sent Lanier a letter threatening legal action. But Sanchez said he still hasn’t been paid.

“He’s an all-around jerk,” Maddox said.

KPIX 5 left a voicemail message for Lanier and still has not received a response from him. An attempt to reach him at his San Jose office failed because the two building entrances to access the office were locked.

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When asked what she would say to people who apply for a job with Customized Security Services, Maddox replied, “Don’t do it, don’t do it. You will be sorry. You’re going to have a hard time getting paid, you may have bouncing paychecks, and you will be working for people who don’t give a damn about their employees.


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