Construction Company Owner Ordered to Pay More Than $37,000 in Restitution to Employees
Owner of Lancaster Enterprises Pleads Guilty to Seven Charges Including Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage
DEDHAM – A Dedham construction company and its owner have pleaded guilty and were sentenced on charges they failed to pay the prevailing wage, misclassified workers as independent contractors, and failed to submit true and accurate payroll records, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“As families struggle to make ends meet in a tough economy, every dollar counts,” AG Coakley said. “This is a clear example of a company that failed to pay its workers properly and tried to get away with it while its employees suffered. Our office will continue to ensure that Massachusetts’ workers are paid a legal wage and help level the playing field for all those businesses that follow the rules.
Marie Raftes, 69 of Dedham, and her company, Lancaster Enterprises, Inc., of Dedham, pleaded guilty and were sentenced on the following charges:
- Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage;
- Willful Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors;
- Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Awarding Authority;
- Failure to Maintain General Payroll Records;
- Willful Failure to Submit Payroll Records to the AGO for Inspection;
- Willful Failure to Submit Certified Payroll Records to the AGO for Inspection; and
- Willful Failure to Submit Certified Payroll Records to the Awarding Authority.
Lancaster and Raftes agreed to resolve all matters by pleading guilty in Dedham District Court. Following the change of plea, Judge Mary Hogan Sullivan sentenced Raftes to two years’ probation. Raftes and Lancaster Enterprises were further ordered to pay more than $37,000 in restitution to 10 employees. Additionally, Raftes and Lancaster 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.
Lancaster and Raftes were first cited in June 2009 for intentionally failing to submit certified payroll records to the AG’s Office for work performed at the Newburyport State Police barracks project; intentionally failing to submit certified payroll records to the Massachusetts State Police; and intentionally failing to submit general payroll records for inspection to the AG’s Office.
At that time, the AG’s Office fined Raftes and her company a total of $30,000 for the violations. Raftes and Lancaster appealed the civil citations to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA). After an evidentiary hearing in January 2011, DALA upheld the issuance of the civil citations. Raftes and Lancaster filed an appeal in Norfolk Superior Court.
While the appeal was pending, the AG’s Office renewed its demand for Lancaster’s payroll records. Raftes and Lancaster submitted additional payroll information and investigators determined that Raftes and her company failed to pay 10 employees more than $37,000 in wages for work performed at the West Newbury and Newburyport public construction projects. Additionally, investigators discovered that Raftes and Lancaster misclassified 18 roofers as laborers and independent contractors in violation of the Independent Contractor Law.
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. 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.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Miranda S. Jones and investigated by Investigator Mario Paiva, both of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division, and Nuno Fontes Montrond, formerly of the Attorney General’s Office.