Press Release

Press Release Plymouth Man Pleads Guilty to More Than 100 Charges in Connection With Extensive Wage Theft and Larceny Scheme

Defendant Ordered to Pay $91,000 to Workers, AG’s Office Debars Him from Public Works Projects for Five Years
For immediate release:
6/06/2018
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division

Media Contact for Plymouth Man Pleads Guilty to More Than 100 Charges in Connection With Extensive Wage Theft and Larceny Scheme

Meggie Quackenbush

BostonA Plymouth man and his construction companies have pleaded guilty to more than 100 charges in connection with running an extensive wage theft and larceny scheme and been ordered to pay more than $91,000 in restitution to workers, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Joseph B. Kerrissey, III, age 41, and his companies J. Kerrissey LLC and Sunrise Equipment & Excavation Inc. pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court to 107 charges including willful wage and hour violations, larceny and failure to pay prevailing wage. After the plea was entered, Judge Heidi Brieger sentenced Kerrissey to three years of probation and ordered him to pay $91,743 in restitution to 37 former employees.

“For years, this employer refused to pay his workers and took intentional steps to make it impossible for them to obtain their wages,” AG Healey said. “With this sentence, he is held accountable for this criminal scheme and will pay full restitution to the former employees he exploited.”

The defendants pleaded guilty to multiple counts of the following charges for conduct taking place in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017:

Joseph B. Kerrissey, III

  • Larceny by Check over $250
  • Larceny by Check under $250
  • Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Awarding Authority
  • Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Attorney General
  • Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages
  • Willful Failure to Pay Wages
  • Willful Failure to Pay Overtime
  • Willful Failure to Provide a Suitable Paystub

J. Kerrissey LLC

  • Larceny by Check over $250
  • Larceny by Check under $250
  • Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Awarding Authority
  • Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wage
  • Willful Failure to Pay Wages
  • Willful Failure to Pay Overtime
  • Willful Failure to Provide a Suitable Paystub

Sunrise Equipment & Excavation Inc.

  • Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Awarding Authority
  • Willful Failure to Submit True and Accurate Certified Payroll Records to the Attorney General
  • Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wage

The defendants were indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury in Oct. 2016 after an investigation by the AG’s Office. The AG’s Fair Labor Division began investigating Kerrissey after receiving numerous complaints from workers at both of the defendant’s companies about non-payment of wages on public and private construction jobs.

The investigation revealed that Kerrissey, despite receiving payment for his company’s work on construction projects, consistently bounced payroll checks to employees, failed to issue checks, shaved hours from employees’ paychecks, and paid workers below agreed-upon hourly rates. When workers complained about non-payment of wages, Kerrissey used various excuses to avoid payment, including telling employees the money should be in the account, saying they did not earn the wages or had to work for nothing, and threatening to take out criminal complaints if they attempted to use the legal system to obtain their wages.

The investigation also revealed that Kerrissey distributed paychecks knowing his company’s payroll account lacked sufficient funds to cover the paychecks with the intent to defraud the recipients, and moved funds out of business accounts on and around payday. 

The defendant and his companies performed public construction work on projects in the towns of Hanover, Weston and West Tisbury. The defendant failed to pay the applicable prevailing wage for all hours worked and failed to submit required certified payroll records on those projects to the awarding authorities and to the AG’s Office. The AG’s Office will impose a five-year statutory debarment from public works projects on Kerrissey and his companies as a result of his conviction on these prevailing wage charges.

AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, earned sick time and overtime laws.

Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the Attorney General’s new Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Cotter and Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill through the AG’s Fair Labor Division with assistance from Fair Labor Investigator Leah Lucier, Investigator Colleen Frost of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division, Victim/Witness Advocate Amber Anderson, and Massachusetts State Police assigned AG’s Office.

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Media Contact for Plymouth Man Pleads Guilty to More Than 100 Charges in Connection With Extensive Wage Theft and Larceny Scheme

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division 

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division protects workers from exploitation and sets a level playing field for employers. We enforce wage and hour, public construction, and child labor laws.

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