In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – A Framingham construction company and its owners will pay more than $540,000 in restitution and penalties over allegations that they failed to pay prevailing wages to employees who worked on public projects at the Middleborough and Westport police stations and submitted false payroll records to the municipalities, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today, December 20.
Separately, the AG’s Office sued the construction management firm in charge of overseeing the work for facilitating the submission of false documents to the municipalities to conceal the fact that workers were not paid properly.
The construction company, Superior Carpentry, Inc., and its President, Fernando Barroso, and Vice President, Felipe Drumond, were issued five citations by the AG’s Office for failing to pay the prevailing wage, not submitting true and accurate payroll records, failing to submit payroll records, falsifying records, and failing to keep true and accurate payroll records.
In a separate complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the AG’s Office alleges that BPI Construction Management, Inc. (BPI) violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act when it knowingly facilitated the submittal of fraudulent payroll records to the municipalities falsely certifying that workers on the projects were paid the prevailing wage. BPI, as a higher-level contractor, subcontracted the work to Framingham-based Superior Carpentry.
“These companies cheated workers out of the wages they earned while working on public construction projects and then repeatedly lied about it to the municipalities involved,” said AG Healey. “Contractors and constructions companies at every level, in every trade, are responsible for performing their work in accordance with the law. It is a priority of our office to ensure that workers are paid the wages owed to them.”
The AG’s Fair Labor Division began its investigation of Superior Carpentry in 2018 after receiving a referral from the North American States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) alleging that workers on the Westport Police station project were not being paid prevailing wages. T
he AG’s Office discovered that Superior Carpentry was underpaying its workers by more than $35 per hour for work performed on both public projects, and provided false payroll records to the AG’s Office.
According to the AG’s complaint against BPI, 32 fraudulent payroll records were submitted to Middleborough and Westport, each claiming that Superior Carpentry was abiding by the state’s wage and hour laws. The AG’s Office also alleges that BPI knowingly facilitated the submittal of those false records to the municipalities. BPI offered Superior the labor subcontract at a low fixed price, ignored Superior’s complaints that it was unable to pay the prevailing wage, and otherwise failed to conduct any oversight of its sole subcontractor.
This Superior Carpentry case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Erin Staab and Supervising Investigator Tom Lam of the AG’s Fair Labor Division, handling the BPI Construction Management, Inc. litigation is Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Walker of the AG’s False Claims Division.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages. The AG’s Office urges anyone with information about suspected fraud or abuse relating to state or municipal contracts or funds to contact the False Claims Division’s tip line at 617-963-2600.