Richmond Safeguard tub call center gets raided by authorities

The GreenWorksUS company, which installs the well-known Safeguard bath tubs, got raided by state authorities on Thursday.
February 6, 2014 8:15:40 PM PST
A well-known tub company you've seen advertised with local celebrities on television is in hot water.

Safeguard Tubs in Richmond was raided on Thursday morning by a host of state and Southern California officials. They removed boxes and boxes of evidence. It is marketed by a company called GreenWorksUS.

The state told ABC7 News this raid involves several allegations including fraud that involve the elderly.

"It was just really crazy because everybody was running around with their heads cut off like a chicken," said one female employee who did not want to be identified.

The woman we spoke to was one of 150 employees of Safeguard Tubs who were at work when a police from various agencies showed up with a search warrant.

An employee shot cellphone video of the raid. On the video you can hear an official say, "We have a search warrant for this business today..."

We asked the woman if she saw anyone get arrested, but she replied, "No, I wish did because I would be ready to testify."

Safeguard is perhaps best known for its television commercials, the ones featuring various local and national celebrities, pitching their walk-in tubs, especially to seniors. The tubs cost as much as $10,000.

At the Richmond facility, employees tell ABC7 News there were 200 low-wage employees, working in a phone bank, with few breaks, making up to 600 cold calls per day.

Another employee, who also did not want to be identified, told us, "There's got to be something shady going on. There has to be something shady because it just seemed like a shady place."

The female employee told us there were changes to the caller ID. She said, "Yes? they changed the caller ID to where we couldn't be traced." She explained people would think they were calling from "Kaiser, pizzerias, somebody named Katie."

Investigators spent the afternoon removing boxes of files and other evidence from the building. Most were from the Riverside County District Attorney's office, with help from Contra Costa County and members of the Contractors State License Board.

ABC7 News tried to find the owner of GreenWorksUS, Raj Suri, but he was not at his Blackhawk Country Club home. He was not in Richmond either when his state inspectors raided his office or at one of this other offices in San Ramon. In fact, the San Ramon office had a "office for lease" sign up in the window.

No one was arrested at the Richmond office Thursday, but inspectors and the police say they'll be back on Friday.

ABC7 News reporter Alan Wang contributed to this report.


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