A terse press release sent out Thursday, Nov. 15, informed the public that around 7:45 a.m. a team of investigators that included Menlo Park officers, district attorney inspectors, and state employment department representatives descended upon a business in the 1800 block of El Camino Real in Menlo Park, as well as a residence in the 1500 block of Laurel Place, to carry out search warrants.
Employees of Cindy's Flowers and Gifts confirmed the business was searched, but said they have no idea what's going on. Questions were referred to an attorney, although neither the lawyer's name nor contact information was immediately available.
San Mateo County Superior Court records show the owner of the shop, Cindy Smith, was ordered to pay $25,000 to Western State Land Corp. in August for "unpaid rent, damages and attorney fees" related to the shop's former location at 558 Santa Cruz Ave. Court documents state she leased the premises in 2007, but was evicted on July 3, 2012, after she stopped paying rent two months earlier.
Other records show Ms. Smith and a co-defendant were ordered to pay $2,558 for past due invoices and court costs in 2011.
A year-long investigation of worker's compensation fraud and violations of state business regulations commenced after complaints were made to the police department, according to the press release.
No other details about the ongoing investigation were available. The Menlo Park Police Department asks anyone with information about this case to call Officer Felicia Byars at 330-6300 or the anonymous tip hotline at 330-6395.
— Sandy Brundage