Penalties upheld in Coakley's case against company

Keith Loria Mar. 7, 2011, 2:57am


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Monday that the Division of Administrative Law Appeals has upheld civil citations and penalties against a construction company and its owner from June 2009.

Lancaster Enterprises Inc. and Marie Raftes, its owner, allegedly failed to submit properly certified payroll records to the Massachusetts State Police Barracks and Coakley's office and did not submit general payroll records to the Attorney General's Office for inspection.

Because of these alleged failings, civil penalties in the amount of $10,000 per violation were assessed against Raftes and her business.

The defendant appealed the citations, claiming that the mistakes were unintentional and the result of sloppy bookkeeping. Raftes also argued that the penalty was excessive.

The DALA upheld Coakley's citations, explaining that the defendants had the evidentiary burden to show by a preponderance of evidence that the citations were erroneously issued. Sloppy bookkeeping, it said, did not dismiss this burden.

Coakley could have assessed as much as $15,000 for each violation since it was the company's first offense. The DALA agreed that the $30,000 total was squarely within Coakley's authority to assess.

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