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A woman faces charges for posing as a state labor investigator, issuing “citations” to Los Angeles-area businesses and demanding payment, officials announced Thursday.

The woman, identified as 41-year-old Nyesha Monique Elam, allegedly conducted inspections at different businesses and demanded payment for so-called labor violations and labor posters, the L.A. City Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

But Elam does not work for the state, nor was she authorized to issue citations or collect civil penalties for labor code violations.

An investigation into Elam began in May 2020, after a business owner reported her.

The L.A. City Attorney's Office shared this image of a fake citation that the woman allegedly used.
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office shared this image of a fake citation that the woman allegedly used.

She now faces a maximum of one and a half years in jail, as well as $12,500 in fines, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

“Impersonating a state investigator and attempting to collect bogus fines from hard working and responsible business owners is reprehensible,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “Every business owner must be able to trust that when someone reaches out to them on behalf of a local, state or federal office it is legitimate.”

Some business owners got bogus notices, often by mail, from companies seeking payments ranging from $90 to $300 for labor-related posters, the City Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities warned business owners to watch out for misleading notices with demands for payment that come from the Labor Law Poster Service, Labor Law Compliance Service, Labor Compliance Services, LCPSS / LLCS and California Regulations of Labor Laws.

Those companies are not actual government agencies and can’t issue civil penalties or charge fees on behalf of the State of California, officials said.

“Official state investigators will never ask to collect for violations on site, or take money in lieu of issuing a citation,” Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower explained. “Individuals who pose as a California labor investigator undermine the trust my staff builds with the public that is needed to do our work.”