U.S. garment factory boss facing U.S. bribery count

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles, California, has indicted the general manager of a garment factory on charges of offering to pay bribes to an investigator with the U. S. Department of Labor in exchange for the investigator closing an investigation into wage violations.

The indicted man, Howard Quoc Trinh, 41, of Arcadia, the manager of Seven-Bros Enterprises, is accused of bribery of a public official.

The indictment charges Trinh with offering to pay $10,000 in bribes to a Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigator.

The indictment also alleges that Trinh offered the bribe last month to secure the release of a hold known as a hot goods objection that had been placed on a shipment by the investigator.

As part of the bribery scheme, Trinh actually paid the investigator $3,000, according to a criminal complaint previously filed in this case.

According to the affidavit in support of that complaint, the agent was investigating Seven-Bros for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets standards for minimum wage and overtime pay.

The Labor Department Wage and Hour investigator led a team that conducted an unannounced visit to Seven-Bros March 10. The investigation into wage violations covered a period from May 2012 through last March 10  and found that Seven-Bros owed approximately $100,000 to compensate employees for wage and hour violations over that period. According to the affidavit, the investigator returned to Seven-Bros March 18, at which time Trinh said he did not owe his employees any back wages and that he wanted to take care of the investigator.

In response to Trinh’s statements, the Labor Department’s Office of Investigator General outfitted the investigator with recording equipment. On the evening of March 18, during a recorded meeting, Trinh is accused of offering the investigator $10,000 to close out the case without finding any violations and to lift the hot goods objection.

The next day, during another recorded meeting, Trinh gave the investigator an initial payment of $3,000 in a manila envelope, according to the affidavit.

If he is convicted of the bribery count in the indictment, Trinh would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

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