ROSEVILLE Calif. Police here are searching for a 48-year-old man known as "Rick" who is suspected of defrauding at least two Roseville restaurant operators while posing as a state inspector for the California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA.
Raymond Richard Whitall II is thought to have committed similar scams elsewhere in Southern California, targeting small, independently owned restaurants. In Roseville, police allege Whitall in February entered two restaurants, El Azteca and Denny's Café, saying he was conducting a Cal/OSHA inspection.
After a lengthy "inspection," Whitall then threatened the restaurant owners with what police described as phony violations, such as having the wrong kind of soap for hand washing. He told the operators they would have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, but said he would delay citation if they paid some cash up front. He received cash from each restaurant.
Police say the restaurant operators believed they were paying a down payment on the fine, and one even asked for a receipt. No charges are pending against the restaurant operators.
Because the suspect was still at large, Cal/OSHA has released information about how to avoid being a victim of such scams. Actual inspectors would never request payment on site, for example, and operators are encouraged to ask for the inspector's state identification with photo and a business card. If operators are suspicious, a call to their local Cal/OSHA office to verify the inspector's status is also recommended.