For Immediate Release - December 22, 2011

Watertown Roofing Company and Its Owners Arraigned in Connection with Labor Violations

Newton Contracting Company, Inc. Charged with Worker’s Compensation Fraud, Misclassification of Employees, Unemployment Fraud, and Prevailing Wage Violations

BOSTON – A Watertown roofing company and its owners have been arraigned on charges they allegedly failed to disclose millions of dollars in misclassified subcontractor payroll and failed to pay the prevailing wage, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.

The enforcement action is the result of investigations by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Governor’s Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (JTF). 

Shaun Bryan and Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, of Newton, and their company, Newton Contracting Company, Inc., of Watertown, were arraigned on the following charges:

Shaun Bryan, age 47, of Newton 

  • Worker’s Compensation Premium Evasion (4 counts)
  • Unemployment Contribution Evasion (12 counts)
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Newton Contracting Company Inc., of Watertown 

  • Worker’s Compensation Premium Evasion (4 counts)
  • Unemployment Contribution Evasion (12 counts)
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, age 47, of Newton 

  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Authorities began an investigation into the Bryans and their company in late 2008, after the JTF received complaints that Newton Contracting was misclassifying part of its workforce. The Attorney General’s Office also received a complaint that Newton Contracting had misclassified its roofing employees as laborers at the Suffolk County Jail Project and consequently failed to pay their employees the prevailing wage rate.

The EOLWD’s Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) conducted a compliance audit of Newton Contracting’s payroll records in early 2009.  The EOLWD\DUA determined that Newton Contracting misclassified multiple employees as independent contractors and consequently failed to disclose to the EOLWD\DUA more than $2.4 million in misclassified subcontractor payroll for each quarter during 2006 through 2008.  The EOLWD\DUA assessed more than $52,000 in additional unemployment contributions, including interest, against Newton Contracting.

During this time the IFB began an investigation of four of Newton Contracting’s worker’s compensation policies covering July 1, 2005, through July 1, 2009.  The IFB discovered that the company allegedly misclassified half of its workforce as subcontractors.  The IFB’s investigation further revealed that during its annual worker’s compensation audits, Shaun Bryan allegedly failed to disclose to the auditor more than $3.4 million of Newton Contracting’s misclassified subcontractor payroll over the course of four policy periods.

The AG’s Fair Labor Division received a complaint that in 2009 Newton Contracting’s employees performing roofing work at the Suffolk County Jail Project were misclassified as laborers.  The prevailing wage rate for roofing work was $53.86.  Newton Contracting paid the workers $44.10 hour.  In 2010, Newton Contracting paid two employees more than $5000 in restitution for the misclassification and consequent failure to pay the prevailing wage violation.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three defendants on December 19.  The defendants were arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court where each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance.  The defendants will be in court on January 6, 2012.  Magistrate Gary Wilson presided over the arraignment.

The goal of the JTF is to reduce fraudulent employment practices in the state, and to increase fair business competition by leveling the playing field for those companies which follow the law.  The JTF is a broad coalition of state agencies includes, among others, the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), Department of Labor\EOLWD, Division of Unemployment Assistance\EOLWD, the Department of Industrial Accidents/EOLWD, the Division of Occupational Safety\EOLWD, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance's (ANF) Department of Revenue/ANF, and the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

Workers who believe their wage and hour rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General's Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465. For tax and workers’ compensation related complaints, contact the Joint Task Force hotline toll-free at 1-(877) 96-LABOR (877-965-2267). More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General's Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com. Additional information about the Joint Task Force's efforts to combat workplace fraud can be found at www.mass.gov/dol/labortaskforce.

The case was handled and is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Miranda S. Jones, of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division. The case was investigated by Mario Paiva and Nuno R. Fontes Montrond, investigators in the Fair Labor Division; Jeffrey Ambrose, Investigator, for the IFB; and Yevnig Heghinian, Compliance Auditor with EOLWD\DUA, in collaboration with the Governor’s Task Force.

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