Government

Owners of Temp Company Criminally Charged for Wage Theft, Intimidation, and Retaliation Against Warehouse Employees





BOSTON – Two individuals from Roslindale and their company have been indicted in connection with an alleged wage theft scheme in which temporary workers were not paid minimum wage or overtime and were retaliated against during an investigation, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

“Our office alleges that these defendants exploited vulnerable temporary workers in an off-the-books, cash operation in which employees were paid well below the minimum wage and never paid overtime,” said AG Healey. “There is no place in Massachusetts for employers who cheat their workers, subject them poor working conditions, and intimidate and retaliate against them for speaking out.”

Robert Carrion, age 46, and Fabiola Ramirez, age 46, both of Roslindale, and their company, Country Temp Corporation, were indicted on Thursday by a Suffolk Grand Jury. The defendants will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court at later date.

The following charges were brought against the defendants:

Robert Carrion

  • Intimidation of a Witness (6 counts)
  • Retaliation (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay Minimum Wage (9 counts)
  • Failure to Pay Overtime (9 counts)
  • Failure to Make Timely Payment of Wages (4 counts)
  • Failure to Furnish Payroll Records to the AG’s Office for Inspection (2 counts)
  • Failure to Provide a Suitable Paystub (9 counts)
  • Failure to Issue Temporary Worker Right to Know Notice (9 counts) 

Fabiola Ramirez

  • Intimidation of a Witness (3 counts)
  • Retaliation (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay Minimum Wage (9 counts)
  • Failure to Pay Overtime (9 counts)
  • Failure to Make Timely Payment of Wages (4 counts)
  • Failure to Furnish Payroll Records to the AG’s Office for Inspection (2 counts)
  • Failure to Provide a Suitable Paystub (9 counts)
  • Failure to Issue Temporary Worker Right to Know Notice (9 counts) 

Country Temp Corporation

  • Failure to Pay Overtime (7 counts)
  • Failure to Furnish Payroll Records to AG’s Office for Inspection (1 count)
  • Failure to Provide a Suitable Paystub (7 counts)
  • Failure to Issue Temporary Worker Right to Know Notice (7 counts) 

A separate $900,000 civil settlement was also reached recently with the operator of the warehouse.

The AG’s Fair Labor Division began an investigation after it received several complaints from workers. 

Country Temp supplied temporary workers to Coliseum Companies, Inc. d/b/a Bay State Linen (Bay State), a commercial laundry company in Dorchester. Those employees performed manual labor loading and unloading linens from industrial washer, dryer, and pressing machines at the warehouse. Country Temp workers made up the majority of employees at Bay State and were employed at the facility for many months, at times years. 

The AG’s investigation revealed that the defendants were allegedly paying employees below minimum wage in an under-the-table payroll operation. The employees allegedly did not receive overtime pay despite regularly working upwards of 60 to 70 hours per week, with some regularly working 100 hours in a week. The employees were paid strictly in cash without paystubs listing their hourly rates of pay. 

After the AG’s Office began their investigation, Carrion and Ramirez allegedly attempted to intimidate, threaten, and mislead their employees. The defendants allegedly threatened cooperating witnesses and other potential witnesses with termination and other unspecified harm. Specifically, Carrion allegedly held a 30-minute meeting with some employees in which he directed them not to cooperate with investigators.

Further, Carrion and Ramirez allegedly reduced the amount of hours certain cooperating workers were allowed to work after Ramirez witnessed those workers speaking with investigators from the AG’s Office during a site inspection.

The AG’s Office alleges that in the criminal case, nine employees are owed nearly $55,000 in minimum wages and overtime.

In a separate civil investigation, the AG’s Office recently reached a settlement with Bay State and its owner, Greg Decious, in which they agreed to pay up to $900,000 in restitution for alleged violations of the state’s minimum wage and overtime laws. Approximately 177 Country Temp workers will receive restitution through that settlement. The AG’s allegations against Bay State (which Bay State denied) were based on joint employer liability.

This criminal case and the civil settlement with Bay State highlight the Fair Labor Division’s recent focus on wage and hour violations involving staffing agencies. Earlier this month, the AG’s Office announced a $1.2 million settlement with UnWrapped resolving allegations of minimum wage, overtime and earned sick time violations. In that case, UnWrapped similarly relied upon staffing agencies to provide the majority of its workforce.

All of the criminal charges against Carrion, Ramirez and Country Temp are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The AG’s Fair Labor Division has criminal and civil authority to enforce the laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, and overtime laws. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are encouraged to call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or visit the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.

The criminal matter is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill with assistance from Investigator Christina Lopez, both of the AG’s Fair Labor Division, Financial Investigator Shannon Roark, and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab. The civil settlement with Bay State was handled by AAG Cahill and Fair Labor Division Chief Cyndi Mark with assistance from Investigator Lopez.





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