Coakley

DEDHAM, Mass. (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that a Dedham construction company and its owner pleaded guilty to charges that they failed to pay the prevailing wage, among other labor violations.

Lancaster Enterprises Inc. and Marie Raftes pleaded guilty on seven labor-related charges on Wednesday to resolve all matters. Raftes was sentenced to two years of probation and the defendants were ordered to pay more than $37,000 in restitution to 10 employees.

The defendants are also barred from contracting for or bidding on public construction projects for five years, but they may complete any public construction projects that were already under contract.

Raftes and Lancaster Enterprises pleaded guilty and were sentenced on willful failure to submit certified payroll records to the awarding authority, willful failure to submit certified payroll records to Coakley's office for inspection, willful failure to submit payroll records to Coakley's office for inspection, failure to maintain general payroll records, willful failure to submit accurate and true certified payroll records to the awarding authority, willful miscalculation of employees as independent contractors and failure to pay the prevailing wage.

Lancaster Enterprises and Raftes were initially cited in June 2009 for intentionally neglecting to submit certified payroll records to Coakley's office for work performed at the Newburyport State Police barracks project, intentionally neglecting to submit general payroll records for inspection to Coakley's office and intentionally neglecting to submit certified payroll records to the Massachusetts State Police.

At that time, Coakley's office fined Lancaster Enterprises and Raftes a total of $30,000 for the violations. The defendants appealed the civil citations to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals that upheld the issuance of the citations in January 2011. The defendants then appealed the decision in Norfolk Superior Court.

While the appeal was pending, Coakley's office renewed its request for Lancaster Enterprises' payroll records. Upon receiving additional payroll information, Coakley's office alleged that Raftes and her company failed to pay more than $37,000 in wages to 10 employees for work performed at the Newburyport and West Newbury public construction projects. Additionally, Coakley's office alleged that the defendants misclassified 18 roofers as independent contractors and laborers in violation of the Independent Contractor Law.

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