Subcontracting companies working at Pulte Homes sites in Massachusetts have been found guilty of wage theft, payroll fraud, and unemployment insurance violations. The subcontractors have been ordered to pay more than $400,000 in unpaid wages and penalties, and more than $141,000 has been recovered in previously outstanding revenue for Massachusetts’ unemployment system.
Pulte Homes of New England LLC and Pulte Braintree LLC operated several construction sites which were investigated after Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and the Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (JTF) received complaints last spring against the subcontractors working at the sites. Workers said that they were not paid for overtime and were not even paid for all hours worked. They said that they were often paid in cash and sometimes by checks which bounced for non-sufficient funds. The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) assisted with the investigations. As a result of the AG’s investigations, five employers were ordered to pay back a total of $409,778 in unpaid wages and penalties. Those penalties were for the failure to pay wages and overtime, failure to issue suitable pay stubs, failure to furnish records for inspection, and misclassification of workers as independent contractors. According to a press release from the EOLWD, the following findings and actions were found against these subcontractors:
- AM Construction Services and its President, Adimar Demoura, age 32 of Framingham, allegedly failed to pay four workers a total of $15,331.50 for framing work done on private residential projects in Braintree and Plymouth. They were also fined $22,500 in penalties.
- Five Stars Construction and its President, Alexandre Miranda, age 40 of Trumbull, Connecticut, allegedly failed to pay two workers a total of $30,700 for framing work done on a private condominium project in Natick. They were also fined $30,000 in penalties.
- Nunes Brothers Construction and its President, Tiago Aguiar M. Nunes, age 28 of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly failed to pay 23 workers a total of $99,086.75 for framing work done on private condominium and single-family homes projects in Braintree, Plymouth, Natick, and Northbridge. They were also fined $112,500 in penalties.
- Seven Seas Group and its President, Jackson Croscup, age 55 of Fall River, allegedly failed to pay five workers a total of $10,333 for framing work done on a private condominium project in Natick. They were also fined $20,075 in penalties.
- Two Brothers Construction and its President, Wellington DeLima Borges, age 41 of East Natick, allegedly failed to pay six workers a total of $34,751.50 for framing work done on a private home development project in Plymouth. They were also fined $34,500 in penalties.
Additionally, the EOLWD’s Departments of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and Industrial Accidents (DIA) inspected three construction sites owned and operated by the two Pulte companies, and found that several subcontracting companies at the three Pulte sites had committed violations of failure to register with DUA, failure to pay unemployment taxes, and employee misclassification. A total of $144,558 was found to be owed to the state in unpaid unemployment taxes.
The JTF is a broad coalition of state agencies including, among others, the Attorney General’s Office, EOLWD’s Departments of Industrial Accidents and Unemployment Assistance, and the state’s Department of Revenue. These agencies work together to protect workers and restore competitive equality for Massachusetts’ businesses. Although the large majority of Massachusetts employers conduct business with integrity, unscrupulous offenders are a serious threat to consumers, workers, tax revenues, legitimate businesses, and the economic well-being of the Commonwealth.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465, or the Joint Task Force Referral Line at (877) 965-2267, or visit the Joint Task Force website to submit a complaint via email. More information about the wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website.