HR Strange But True!
July 19, 2007

Joanna "Rosa" Gonzalez paid employees a good hourly wage, which allowed them to buy expensive cars and motorcycles. Employees could work as much overtime as they wanted and could request time off when they needed it. By all accounts, she ran an efficient business with good recordkeeping, even during her pregnancy. She seems like any other employer, right? Police say no.

Police allege that Gonzalez was the head of a drug operation in Providence, Rhode Island, that had set business hours (from 8 a.m. to midnight) and two shifts that employees could work, the Providence Journal reports.

She paid employees up to $40 per hour and gave them overtime, a half-hour lunch break, and time off, police allege. The employees had job titles like "manager," "distributor," "enforcer," and "banker." No, we weren't able to find job descriptions for these job titles.

Thomas Verdi, head of the Providence police narcotics unit, tells the news paper that his conservative estimate is that the operation brought in about $9000 a week. Despite the income and luxury cars, Gonzalez and some her employees collected welfare checks, police say.

Police, working with t he Drug Enforcement Agency, had been monitoring Gonzalez through surveillance and wire taps over a period of more than two months. They say that besides running her operation like any legitimate entrepreneur would, Gonzalez faced a similar complaint from employees: They weren't being paid enough.

Police arrested Gonzalez and several other individuals on drug-related charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the newspaper reports. They are still seeking 12 more individuals.

Source: Providence Journal

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