- Office of the Attorney General
- Office of the Attorney General
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for Framingham Construction Company To Pay Nearly $1 Million For Subcontractor's Failure To Pay Prevailing Wages To Employees
Sabrina Zafar , Deputy Press Secretary
BOSTON — Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has announced the issuance of a judgment in the Commonwealth’s litigation against Framingham-based BPI Construction Management, Inc. for its subcontractor’s failure to pay prevailing wages to employees working on two public construction projects. As part of the judgment, the company will pay $926,898.06 to the Commonwealth for violating the Massachusetts False Claims Act in connection with prevailing wage theft.
The judgment follows two successful motions for partial summary judgment filed by the AGO. The AGO’s complaint against BPI Construction Management, Inc. was filed in December 2021. The AG’s Office alleged that despite paying employees less than half of what was owed to them on two public construction projects in Westport and Middleborough, BPI and its subcontractor submitted 32 fraudulent payroll forms to certify compliance with the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law.
“Companies that receive public funds for projects must ensure that all workers receive the pay and benefits they are entitled to,” said AG Campbell. “I am grateful for the team’s continued efforts to safeguard the Commonwealth’s public resources while protecting our workers from exploitation.”
The Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law sets the minimum hourly wage rates allowable for certain classifications of workers on public construction projects in the Commonwealth. The law requires submittal of weekly certified payroll forms as an express condition of payment on most public contracts. The Court found that BPI violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act when it submitted fraudulent weekly payroll records prepared by its subcontractor, Superior Carpentry of Framingham, for payment. BPI denied knowing about the fraud but admitted that it had taken no steps to verify the payroll information it used to obtain payment.
The Court held that BPI violated the law by using the records to get paid in reckless disregard of their falsity, rejecting BPI’s defense that it was blameless in blindly relying on Superior’s fraudulent payroll forms. “At best,” the Court wrote, “BPI passively disregarded the truth or falsity of the [payroll forms], failed to make a minimum examination, and ignored obvious warning signs.” This is the first case to affirm that liability under the Massachusetts False Claims Act extends up the payment chain to contractors who, by action or inaction, knowingly facilitate misconduct by their subcontractors.
This case arose as a collaboration between the AG’s False Claims and Fair Labor Divisions in response to a pattern of wage theft complaints involving payroll prepared by subcontractors. Previously, Superior admitted its own liability for its role in the wage violations and settled with the Fair Labor Division, agreeing to pay $256,539.92 as restitution to the workers and roughly the same amount as civil penalties.
In this case, the Court has awarded the AG multiple damages of $513,079, based on the estimated $256,539.92 that workers on its projects were underpaid, offset by restitution payments previously made by Superior. BPI was also assessed a total statutory penalty of $226,752 for its 32 violations of the Act.
The False Claims Division was created in 2015 to safeguard public funds and promote integrity and accountability in public contracting. AG Campbell urges anyone with information about suspected fraud or abuse relating to state or municipal contracts or funds to contact the False Claims Division’s tip line at 617-963-2600.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to Workplace Rights website for materials in 12 languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Chinese.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Walker from the AG’s False Claims Division and Supervising Investigator Tom Lam, from the AG’s Fair Labor Division.