Filed 6/6/06 P. v. Rodriguez CA5
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IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
Plaintiff and Appellant,
JOSE RODRIGUEZ et al.,
Defendants and Respondents.
(Super. Ct. No. 122232)
APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Tulare County. Ronn M. Couillard, Judge.
Phillip J. Cline, District Attorney, Don Gallian and Carol B. Turner, Assistant District Attorneys, for Plaintiff and Appellant.
James D. Henderson for Defendant and Respondent Dianne Rodriguez.
No appearance for Defendant and Respondent Jose Rodriguez.
Dianne Rodriguez and her father, Jose Rodriguez, employers in certain agricultural businesses, were charged with 58 counts of unemployment and disability insurance fraud, workers' compensation fraud, and various other offenses. In response to Dianne Rodriguez's pretrial motion, the trial court dismissed all 58 counts on the ground that they were time barred by the statute of limitations. The People appeal, contending (1) the trial court erred when it determined the date of discovery of the fraud and the beginning of the limitation period; (2) the trial court erred by dismissing a conspiracy charge because the last overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy occurred within the limitation period; and (3) the trial court erred by deciding the offenses alleged to have been committed after July 1998 were discovered in July 1998. We affirm.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL SUMMARY
The Rodriguez family owned and operated certain agricultural businesses, including California Ranch Ag Services and Green Point Farming. Like other employers, the Rodriguez businesses were required to contribute to the unemployment insurance fund on behalf of each of their employees and to withhold disability insurance from their employees' wages. (See Unemp. Ins. Code, §§ 976, 2901.) The Rodriguez businesses were required to hold these amounts in trust and pay them over to the Employment Development Department (EDD) every quarter. The money was used to provide unemployment and disability benefits to employees. In addition, the Rodriguez businesses were also required to make workers' compensation insurance premium payments to an insurance carrier of their choice on behalf of each of their employees. (See Lab. Code, § 3700). All of these amounts were based on the employees' wages, which were to be reported to the EDD quarterly. (See Unemp. Ins. Code, § 1088.)
In July 1998, EDD auditor Sharon Nichols noticed that nine employees who worked for California Ranch Ag Services and Green Point Farming had submitted â€