For Immediate Release - January 10, 2012

Watertown Roofing Company and its Owners Plead Guilty and are Sentenced for 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 pleaded guilty and were sentenced on charges they 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, pleaded guilty and were sentenced 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

After the pleas were entered, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders sentenced Bryan to two years in the House of Correction, balance suspended for five years.  Bryan and Newton Contracting, joint and several, were further ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to Chartis Insurance Agency and $150,000 in fines.  Following her plea, Capurso-Bryan was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $74,000 in fines.  The fines and restitution are joint and several with Bryan and Newton Contracting.

Additionally, Bryan, Capurso-Bryan, and Newton Contracting are debarred from bidding on or contracting for public construction projects for five years, but may finish any public construction projects they had under contract prior to their pleas.  Bryan and Newton Contracting have already paid restitution to the Division of Unemployment Assistance for the unemployment fraud and his employees for the wage violation.  Capurso-Bryan has paid restitution to her employees for the wage violation.

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 misclassified half of its workforce as subcontractors.  The IFB’s investigation further revealed that during its annual worker’s compensation audits, Shaun Bryan 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 on December 22, in Suffolk Superior Court where each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance.  On January 6, 2012, the defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced. 

Newton Contracting and the Bryans cooperated fully in the Attorney General's investigation.  Newton Contracting and the Bryans have reported to the Attorney General that they intend and expect to honor all of their obligations to customers, suppliers, and vendors and the like.

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 that includes, among others, the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), Department of Unemployment Assistance\EOLWD, the Department of Industrial Accidents\EOLWD, the Department of Labor Standards\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 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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