IR #2002-02
Thursday, March 7, 2002

Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
(415) 703-5050

Wins of California employees closer to receiving $2 million wage payment

SAN FRANCISCO - Three San Francisco based garment contractors who bilked at least 239 employees out of three months pay stand to lose their investment property due to a $2.1 million prejudgment writ of attachment granted to California Labor Commissioner Arthur Lujan by the San Francisco Superior Court.

The attachment prevents employers Anna Wong, Jimmy Quan and Jenny Wong from transferring ownership of their eight properties in San Francisco and Oakland. Lujan filed suit on Feb. 26 to preserve assets that may be needed to pay $840,000 in back wages due employees. The $2.1 million attachment also secures payment of penalties and state attorney fees.

This attachment results from a July 2001 investigation by enforcement officers from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Labor who found that Wins of California employees were not being paid. The investigation uncovered a complex organization that included the San Francisco garment shops Wins of California, Win Industries of America and Win Fashions as well as Utah based manufacturer, Tomi Inc. Through Tomi Inc., Wins sold garments to K-Mart, JC Penny, Sears, TJ Maxx, Sam's Club, Mervyn's, Bebe, It's my Baby, Kandy Kiss, Cut Loose, Two Star Dog, Flapdoodles, M.B. Sport and the U.S. Army/Air Force Exchange.

Investigators also uncovered enough evidence to convince the superior court to issue an injunction prohibiting Wins of California from operating. In spite of that injunction and not being properly licensed, Wong continued to manufacture garments until September 2001 when investigators raided Wong's illegal operation again and confiscated 23 bags of clothing.

"Part of what enabled Wong to continue operations was the bond she forged with her Chinese-speaking employees and promises of later wage payments," said Lujan. "However, it soon became clear to employees that they weren't going to be paid and that they should cooperate with investigators acting on their behalf."

Wong's California businesses are now closed. Wins of California and Win Fashions filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, and the courts auctioned off their sewing equipment. Win Industries of America was shut down for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance. Back wages will be distributed to former Wins employees upon resolution of the labor commissioner's lawsuit.