Martha Coakley (D)

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) -- Two Massachusetts construction companies that failed to pay employees and keep proper records on public works projects have reached agreements with state Attorney General Martha Coakley's office.

Fidel Estrella of Estrella Construction Inc. intentionally failed to pay seven employees the prevailing wage, misclassified them as independent contractors, failed to submit true and accurate certified payroll records and failed to maintain true and accurate general payrolls records, the attorney general's office said.

Under terms of the agreement, Estrella will pay $19,215.24 in restitution to the employees as well as an additional $4,000 in fines for failing to pay the prevailing wage. The company will pay $5,000 for misclassification of its workers and $3,000 for failing to maintain general payroll records and failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authority at one public works job.

In the other case, Richard Bennett, owner of R.B. Metalmen, Inc. agreed to pay more than $46,000 in restitution after unintentionally violating the state's prevailing wage for seven employees and a $1,600 in restitution for overtime law violations. An additional $5,000 fine was assessed for unintentionally failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authorities at five public works job sites.

R.B. Metalmen, Inc. also agreed to a debarment of one year, prohibiting them for bidding on public works project during that time.

Prevailing wage laws create a level playing field for contractors bidding on public works projects by standardizing the rate of pay for workers. The records keeping laws ensure that state agencies can monitor the spending of taxpayer money on public construction projects.

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