Settlement Reached, Indictments Returned Against Two Businesses for Failing to Pay into the Unemployment Trust Fund
AG’s Office Alleges Danvers and Amesbury Businesses Failed to Pay More Than $583,000 in Tax Contributions, Penalties and Interest
BOSTON – A settlement has been reached and indictments returned against two businesses and their principals in connection with failing to pay a total of more than $553,000 into the Commonwealth’s unemployment trust fund, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. Those businesses include International Protective Services of Danvers and Green Company Landscape & Irrigation Inc. of Amesbury.
The cases are the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Department of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in a collaborative effort to target employers that fail to pay their quarterly unemployment contributions.
“Qualifying employers are required to pay contributions to the unemployment compensation fund in Massachusetts to ensure that benefits are available for eligible workers,” AG Coakley said. “Our enforcement effort aims to level the playing field for those businesses that already follow the law and assure compliance in the future.”
"Working together with the Attorney General to prosecute employers who fail to pay into the unemployment insurance system insures that the Commonwealth obtains the contributions that are essential to keep the Unemployment Trust Fund solvent and sustainable," said Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. "EOLWD/DUA is committed to taking all steps necessary to insure that we maintain a level playing field so that employers who pay their UI premiums are not at a competitive disadvantage."
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) administers the Unemployment Insurance program, providing temporary assistance to unemployed workers. Funding for these benefits comes from Massachusetts employers. Employers either pay quarterly contributions into the trust fund or non-profit or governmental employers have the option to self-insure, reimbursing the state dollar-for-dollar for benefits paid.
A settlement has been reached or indictments returned against the following defendants:
Snyder/Driscoll/International Protective Services
Joseph Snyder, 84, of Boxford, Thomas Driscoll, 56, of Stoughton and their company, International Protective Services (IPS), have agreed to pay more than $108,000 to resolve allegations they failed to pay their full unemployment contributions into the Commonwealth’s unemployment trust fund.
According to authorities Driscoll served as president and reported directly to Snyder who served as CEO of IPS, a Danvers based customized security service company, since 2005. Authorities allege that although the company had previously complied with its employer tax contributions, it stopped paying the necessary taxes beginning July 2007 through July 2012. During this time period, the company continued to operate and pay wages to its workers. Despite their lack of contributions to the unemployment fund, workers formerly employed by IPS were able to collect more than $44,000 in benefits after their separation.
As a result of the failure to pay their full tax liability, the defendants will pay more than $109,000 in employer contributions, penalties and interest to the Commonwealth.
Bourassa/Green Company Landscape & Irrigation Inc.
Bruce Bourassa, 43, of Amesbury, and his company Green Company Landscape & Irrigation, Inc.(Green Company), are each indicted on the charge of Non-Payment of Employer Contributions (22 counts).
According to authorities, Bourassa has been the president and treasurer of Green Company, an Amesbury landscaping company incorporated in 1991, since 1997. Authorities allege that although the company had previously complied with its employer tax contributions, it stopped paying the necessary taxes beginning in October 2006 through January 2012. During this time period, the company continued to operate and pay wages to its workers. As a result of the alleged fraud, Bourassa and Green Company failed to pay more than $445,000 in employer contributions including interest.
Despite their lack of contribution to the unemployment fund, workers formerly employed by Green Company were able to collect more than $595,000 in benefits after their separation.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Bourassa and Green Company on Thursday. The defendants will be arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court on November 5, 2012.
AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In 2011, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division obtained $5,578,934 in restitution orders in 33 matters.
To report unemployment fraud to the EOLWD\DUA, call the agency’s toll free fraud hotline at 1-800-354-9927 anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.
These matters are being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jennifer Adreani and David Andrews, Chief of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Tracey Wetterlow and Rose Bagalawis the Attorney General’s Office and Richard Carney, Director of Revenue Enforcement and Audit, from EOLWD\DUA.