Employees say East County treatment center owes them money

Sovereign Health is accused of not paying workers
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 20:58:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Former employees of Sovereign Health in Rancho San Diego say the facility is now closed, but they still have not received their paychecks.

Bonnie Stromer worked as an art therapist with Sovereign Health for the past three years. She said she has not been paid for five months and the company owes her over $18,000.

“I am very upset,” Stromer said. “That means I’ve only gotten one check… for January. My January services and that’s it, for the whole year. That’s ridiculous.”

In June, 11 other employees filed a lawsuit against Sovereign Health and its CEO Tonmoy Sharma. It accused the company of failure to pay wages and fraud.

RELATED: Sovereign Health employees say paychecks are weeks late  

“Early in 2018, Sovereign Health stopped paying certain vendors. Sovereign Health stopped paying registration on its vehicles. In short, Sovereign Health was in financial trouble and its leadership, including Mr. Sharma was aware,” the lawsuit states.

Stromer is not part of the lawsuit, but said she kept working because she was promised a paycheck. She also did not want to abandon the kids.

“The kids were just wonderful… They just were looking for help and we gave it to them,” Stromer said.

The Department of Social Services visited the Rancho San Diego facility 41 times since 2014. There were 28 visits this year alone. In a report from May 29th, it said “the facility has not paid staff and vendors timely which poses an immediate threat to the clients.”

In 2017, the FBI served search warrants on other Sovereign Health locations in Southern California. A spokesperson for the agency said the investigation is still ongoing and would not give further details.

Stromer has harsh words for the CEO. “He’s a shark… or a snake, I don’t know.” Stromer said. “He’s like a crook.”

Team 10 reached out to Sovereign Health’s spokesperson and has yet to hear back on this latest development.

Back in May, Haroon Ahmad with media relations said the problem was with payroll issues due to a new vendor.