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Repeat Offender Marie Raftes and Lancaster Enterprises Fined Again

The office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced that construction company Lancaster Enterprises Inc, owned by Marie Raftes, must pay over $100,000 in restitution and penalties for payroll fraud and wage theft against employees.  Raftes and Lancaster Enterprises are charged with failing to pay $37,000 of earned wages to 10 employees who worked at two public construction sites, for willfully failing to pay the prevailing wage, for failure to submit truthful payroll records to authorities, and for misclassifying employees as independent contractors.  In a press release from the attorney general’s office, Coakley states:

“At a time when many people are struggling financially, it is crucial that workers receive the wages they are rightfully owed.  The independent contractor law is designed to ensure that all businesses are competing on a level playing field.”

This is the second time the Dedham, MA company has been cited for payroll fraud in less than two years.  In June 2009, they were cited for intentionally failing to submit certified payroll records for work performed at the Newburyport State Police barracks project to the attorney general and to the state police who were the awarding authority for the project.  Raftes and her company were required to pay $30,000 at that time, as well as submit additional payroll information.  From that information, investigators determined that the company had misclassified 18 roofing employees as independent contractors in violation of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law.

Older public records show that Marie Raftes and her company have a history of run-ins with authority.  In 1997, an
employee who worked for one of Lancaster Enterprises’ front companies, Orbit Roofing Co., stepped in glue which had been poured near the edge of the roof he was helping to install, slipped and fell to his death.  Subsequent investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) resulted in a citation which claimed that Lancaster did not have a safety program for employees and failed to implement certain safety precautions in the workplace such as covering the skylights in the roof while work was performed on it.  That incident resulted in penalties less than $11,000.

Massachusetts workers who believe they have been misclassified or that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465.


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