(FOX 9) - The former owner of a construction company in Minnesota was charged Monday with crimes including worker's compensation insurance fraud, threatening workers, and criminal sexual conduct in a case dating back to 2017.
Fabian Espinosa, who investigators say has since moved from Minnesota, is facing charges in the case related to his construction company he started in the fall of 2017.
At the time, investigators with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau say Espinosa filed for worker's comp insurance but claimed he had no workers on his payroll to keep premium costs down – despite the fact investigators say he already had several employees at the time. Despite estimating he would have a $0 payroll for the upcoming year, investigators say Espinosa employed around 14 workers between October 2017 through January 2018.
It doesn't end there. According to the criminal complaint, workers told investigators that, when people were hurt on the job, the injuries often weren't reported or cared for by medical professionals, according to investigators.
In one case when a worker suffered a bad finger cut from a saw blade, investigators say Espinosa told the employee to go to a pharmacy to get a first aid kit. Later, according to the complaint, when the worker pleaded that he needed to see a doctor, Espinosa went with the worker to Regions Hospital and told him to lie about how the injury occurred – threatening to turn the immigrant worker into the police if he didn't lie. The worker did lie, claiming he had crushed his finger in a car door, the state says.
A $2,400 bill for the treatment was sent to Espinosa's home address in Richfield, investigators say, but was never paid.
The injured worker ultimately quit when Espinosa demanded that he return to work a few days later. The worker told investigators he sought further treatment for his injured finger after leaving his job.
A woman who was employed by Espinosa also says she was attacked by Espinosa in December 2017.
Before the alleged attack, investigators say Espinosa propositioned the worker and showed her his penis. The complaint says Espinosa called her "a lesbian" when she apparently rejected his advances.
On December 20, 2017, police say Espinosa asked the worker to stay late to help on a project. She stayed briefly but ultimately got a ride back with another worker to the La Quinta in Bloomington, where the workers were staying.
According to the charges, Espinosa was furious, fired the woman, and canceled her hotel room. The woman ended up staying with a friend in another room.
Two days later, on about December 22, investigators say Espinosa entered the room where the woman was staying and assaulted her, pinning her on a bed, ripping her shirt, biting her, and putting his hands on her private parts.
Two witnesses confirmed with investigators they saw the injuries the woman suffered after the attack, including bruising and a bite mark.
Investigators say Espinosa left Minnesota in 2019 and has since been living in Baltimore.
He was contacted by state investigations in December 2019. During the phone interview, investigators say Espinosa lied about the number of workers he had hired, claiming he only employed a father and son from Mexico for a few months. But later he admitted to having a female employee – who he again referred to as a "lesbian" when speaking with investigators -- but claimed she did not stay at the La Quinta and only worked for him for a few days to a couple of weeks.
Espinosa denied that he had ever touched the woman inappropriately and that anyone was hurt on his work sites.
It appears Espinosa still lives in Baltimore. He has been summoned to appear in Hennepin County court on January 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Charges in the case were filed on Monday. It's unclear what took so long for investigators to bring charges.