Glendale man indicted for defrauding his employees, taking wages

A Glendale resident has been indicted on charges of defrauding his employees and taking portions of their wages — adding up to $81,000 — for himself, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office and the state Department of Industrial Relations.

Sourin Babayan, 64, was indicted last week on 14 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on a public works project, two felony counts of attempted taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on a public works project, 19 felony counts of recording a false and forged instrument, and seven felony counts of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, with sentencing enhancements for property damage and/or loss over $65,000, according to a statement from the district attorney and agency.

Babayan is a former general contractor. His company, SBD Construction, was contracted by DJM Construction to work on a state developmental hospital in Costa Mesa.

His company was contracted to install fire sprinklers in several multi-floored buildings for an estimated $820,000, the statement said.

The D.A. is not releasing the name of the hospital at this time, said Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder. The only developmental hospital in Costa Mesa is the Fairview Developmental Center on Harbor Boulevard, according to the California Department of Developmental Service’s website.

During the project, Babayan is accused of receiving money from DJM to pay his employees, writing the employees a check for the correct amount and then asking for some of the wages back, Schroeder said.

Babayan allegedly threatened to terminate the employees if they did not cooperate and is accused of keeping the money for personal use, according to the statement. He allegedly supervised 17 employees, the release said.

Babayan allegedly resubmitted the contract to DJM in July and asked for $2.3 million to finish the project. DJM let his company go.

He is accused of inviting the employees to his house to give them their final paycheck, but instead, allegedly attempted to dissuade them from being witnesses in the prosecution of a crime, the statement said.

SBD Construction employees contacted the D.A. earlier in the year and the indictment is a result of an investigation from the D.A. that began in July, according to the release.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement from the Department of Industrial Relations also conducted an investigation and completed a civil wage and penalty assessment to help the employees get their full wages returned.

If convicted on all counts, Babayan faces up to 57 years and nine months in state prison, according to the release

Babayan is being held on $200,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond, the release said.

His scheduled arraignment was moved to Oct. 18.

-- Beau Nicolette, Daily Pilot

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