Mass. to Expand Its Already Powerful and Effective Wage and Misclassification Task Force

Six years after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick created the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy (JTF) via executive order, the highly successful program will become statute thanks to language in the state’s newly enacted minimum wage law.

Recent reports show that in 2013 alone the JTF recovered $15.6 million in back wages, unemployment insurance premiums, penalties and fines following over one thousand investigations.  Since its inception, the JTF has recovered over $56 million.

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) Secretary Rachel Kaprielian said in a statement:

“Companies and individuals who willfully avoid the law by misclassifying employees … or engage in fraudulent employment practices of the underground economy put workers’ safety at risk, place legitimate businesses at a disadvantage and burden taxpayers.”

A new council will take the reigns from the JTF, adding eight agencies to those that have been on board since 2008.  Gov. Patrick is currently in the process of selecting these new agencies.  The new council will be chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and will have broadened powers.

  

Construction Company Owner Sentenced for Fraud Conspiracy in Connection with Renovation of McCormack Federal Building

Construction company owner sentenced for fraud conspiracy in connection with the renovation of the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse in Boston.

Wael Isreb, 55, of Wrentham, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., to four years of probation, including 18 months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $164,627 in restitution. In March 2014, Isreb and his co-defendant, Aluisio Dasilva, 67, of Hudson, Mass., each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and false statements.

Isreb was the owner of Taunton Forms, a now-defunct concrete construction company based in Lakeville, Mass. In September 2006, the General Services Administration retained Suffolk Construction Company as the general contractor to renovate the McCormack Building. Suffolk Construction, in turn, retained Taunton Forms as a subcontractor to perform certain concrete work on that project. Suffolk Construction ultimately paid Taunton Forms in excess of $1 million for its work.

Federal law requires that contractors on federal projects over $2,000 pay workers a prevailing wage, and that they submit weekly reports certifying the wages they paid their employees. Beginning in about December 2007, however, Isreb conspired with Dasilva and others to pay Taunton Forms workers less than the prevailing wage while certifying to Suffolk Construction, the GSA, and the United States Department of Labor (DOL) that Taunton Forms was, in fact, paying the prevailing wage.

Mass. Window Company Settles Prevailing Wage Law Allegations

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) – Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $109,000 agreement on Tuesday with an Easthampton window company to resolve allegations it violated the state’s Prevailing Wage Law.

R&R Window Contractors Inc. allegedly failed to pay the proper prevailing wage and failed to submit true and accurate payroll records connected with several public works projects throughout the state.

“The prevailing wage law ensures a level playing field for contractors and their workers who build our public schools, libraries, police stations and other public facilities,” Coakley said. “The enforcement of these laws protects workers’ rights and our taxpayer dollars.”

Coakley’s Fair Labor Division received complaints alleging that R&R was not properly paying workers performing glazier and carpentry work under the prevailing wage laws.

Between June 1, 2010 and March 28, R&R allegedly failed to pay some of its workers the correct prevailing wage rate and failed to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authorities on nine of their public works construction projects.

R&R fully cooperated with Coakley’s inquiry and agreed to pay more than $109,000 in restitution and penalties to 43 current and former employees.

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MASSACHUSETTS RECOVERS MILLIONS IN REVENUE BY REDUCING EMPLOYER FRAUD AND WORKER MISCLASSIFICATION

BOSTON – Thursday, September 5, 2013 – Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein today announced Massachusetts has recovered more than $21 million over an 18-month period in owed revenue recaptured through the collaborative work of the state’s Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (the Joint Task Force). This recovered amount is greater than the sum of all previous years combined as detailed in the Joint Task Force’s 2012 Annual Report.

In March 2008, Governor Deval Patrick established the Joint Task Force to restore fairness to the Massachusetts economy by addressing employer fraud and misclassification. Working towards this goal, the Joint Task Force is composed of various state agencies including representatives from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), as well as other executive branch agencies, the Office of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, the Office of the Treasurer’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

American Waste Services workers locked in ‘wage-theft’ conflict

By KAREN LEE ZINER

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE – For six years, Enrique Sarceno worked on a garbage truck, emptying 30-gallon barrels on a municipal route in Franklin, Mass. At day’s end, Sarceno would strip off his rank-smelling clothes and head for the shower.

He thought the money was good – $17 an hour. But when the former American Waste Services company, in Raynham, hired him, Sarceno knew nothing of the Massachusetts prevailing wage law under which he would have been paid at least $5 more per hour.

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