For Immediate Release - July 14, 2009

Townsend Builder and His Corporation Plead Guilty - Ordered to Pay Over $17,500 in Restitution and 3 Years of Probation for Failing to Pay Employees

AYER - An Ashby man and his construction company pled guilty yesterday in Ayer District Court in connection with failing to properly pay his employees. Jeremy Ethier, age 35, and his corporation, Apex Construction Services, Inc. (Apex Construction), located in Townsend, both pled guilty to the charge of Failure to Pay Wages (27 counts). Immediately following the change of plea, District Court Judge David Cunis sentenced Ethier to serve three years of probation and ordered the defendants to pay nearly $18,000 in restitution.

In April 2007, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation into Apex Construction and Ethier's business practices after a complaint was filed by an employee with the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division. A second employee filed a complaint in September 2008. The employees alleged that Apex and its president, Ethier, failed to pay the employees for work they performed at private residences throughout Massachusetts from September 2006 to January 2007. Investigators from the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division reviewed the company's payroll and bank records and discovered that Apex and Ethier failed to make payments to the two victims for 27 pay periods. The Attorney General's Office then sought and obtained charges in Ayer District Court in June 2008.

Apex and Ethier were arraigned in Ayer District Court on August 13, 2008, at which time they entered pleas of not guilty and Ethier was released on personal recognizance.

The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing the minimum wage and overtime laws, and the payment of wages laws in the Commonwealth. Workers who feel that these laws have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website:

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Johnson with assistance from Investigator Edward Minchello, both of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Fair Labor Division.