Watertown Roofing Company Violated State Labor Laws

Newton Contracting Company Inc. and it's owners, Shaun Bryan and Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, face charges of failure to pay the prevailing wage and misclassification of employees as independent contractors .

Two Newton residents and their Watertown-based roofing company have been sentenced in connection with a number of labor violations uncovered by the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley. 

Shaun Bryan, 47, and Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, 47, both of Newton, pleaded guilty to charges of misclassification of employees as independent contractors (four counts each) and failure to pay the prevailing wage.

Shaun Bryan also pleaded guilty to charges of worker’s compensation premium evasion (four counts) and unemployment contribution evasion (12 counts). 

According to a press release from Coakley's office, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders sentenced Shaun Bryan to two years in the House of Correction, balance suspended for five years. He and his company, Newton Contracting Company Inc., faced the same charges and will also have to pay $100,000 in restitution to Chartis Insurance Agency as well as $150,000 in fines.

Antoinette Capurso-Bryan also pleaded guilty and was subsequently sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $74,000 in fines. 

Coakley's office reported that the two "failed to disclose millions of dollars in misclassified subcontractor payroll and failed to pay the prevailing wage." 

More information on the investigation and charges is included in a full copy of the press release below:

BOSTON – A Watertown roofing company and its owners have pleaded guilty and were sentenced on charges they failed to disclose millions of dollars in misclassified subcontractor payroll and failed to pay the prevailing wage, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.   

The enforcement action is the result of investigations by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Governor’s Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (JTF). 

Shaun Bryan and Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, of Newton, and their company, Newton Contracting Company, Inc., of Watertown, pleaded guilty and were sentenced on the following charges:

Shaun Bryan, age 47, of Newton 

  • Worker’s Compensation Premium Evasion (4 counts)
  • Unemployment Contribution Evasion (12 counts)
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Newton Contracting Company Inc., of Watertown 

  • Worker’s Compensation Premium Evasion (4 counts)
  • Unemployment Contribution Evasion (12 counts)
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

Antoinette Capurso-Bryan, age 47, of Newton 

  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (4 counts)
  • Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage

After the pleas were entered, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders sentenced Bryan to two years in the House of Correction, balance suspended for five years.  Bryan and Newton Contracting, joint and several, were further ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to Chartis Insurance Agency and $150,000 in fines.  Following her plea, Capurso-Bryan was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $74,000 in fines.  The fines and restitution are joint and several with Bryan and Newton Contracting.

Additionally, Bryan, Capurso-Bryan, and Newton Contracting are debarred from bidding on or contracting for public construction projects for five years, but may finish any public construction projects they had under contract prior to their pleas.  Bryan and Newton Contracting have already paid restitution to the Division of Unemployment Assistance for the unemployment fraud and his employees for the wage violation.  Capurso-Bryan has paid restitution to her employees for the wage violation.

Authorities began an investigation into the Bryans and their company in late 2008, after the JTF received complaints that Newton Contracting was misclassifying part of its workforce. The Attorney General’s Office also received a complaint that Newton Contracting had misclassified its roofing employees as laborers at the Suffolk County Jail Project and consequently failed to pay their employees the prevailing wage rate.

The EOLWD’s Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) conducted a compliance audit of Newton Contracting’s payroll records in early 2009.  The EOLWD\DUA determined that Newton Contracting misclassified multiple employees as independent contractors and consequently failed to disclose to the EOLWD\DUA more than $2.4 million in misclassified subcontractor payroll for each quarter during 2006 through 2008.  The EOLWD\DUA assessed more than $52,000 in additional unemployment contributions, including interest, against Newton Contracting.

During this time the IFB began an investigation of four of Newton Contracting’s worker’s compensation policies covering July 1, 2005, through July 1, 2009.  The IFB discovered that the company misclassified half of its workforce as subcontractors.  The IFB’s investigation further revealed that during its annual worker’s compensation audits, Shaun Bryan failed to disclose to the auditor more than $3.4 million of Newton Contracting’s misclassified subcontractor payroll over the course of four policy periods.

The AG’s Fair Labor Division received a complaint that in 2009 Newton Contracting’s employees performing roofing work at the Suffolk County Jail Project were misclassified as laborers.  The prevailing wage rate for roofing work was $53.86.  Newton Contracting paid the workers $44.10 hour.  In 2010, Newton Contracting paid two employees more than $5000 in restitution for the misclassification and consequent failure to pay the prevailing wage violation.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three defendants on December 19.  The defendants were arraigned on December 22, in Suffolk Superior Court where each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance.  On January 6, 2012, the defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced. 

Newton Contracting and the Bryans cooperated fully in the Attorney General's investigation.  Newton Contracting and the Bryans have reported to the Attorney General that they intend and expect to honor all of their obligations to customers, suppliers, and vendors and the like.

Lisa Daly January 12, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I don't get it. Is the crime here that schools and the likes have to pay top dollar that those in the private sector aren't subjected to, or that more unemployed can't get jobs because contractors have to pay those in unions more money than the market would bare if they weren't forced to pay inflated "prevailing wages", or that the AGs office goes after viable businesses, and likely forces some into bankruptcy by investigating companies like this, where apparently the market doesn't dictate what they have to pay labor, rather than investigating the overwhelming public corruption that is costing us all the more jobs, taxes and who knows what else. Seems this is a sure way of keeping unemployment UP when there are dozens who would work for lower wages, but remain unemployed as the unions suck up all the high wages, and taxpayers pay premiums for things like roofs on "public" buildings. Everybody loses under this scenario.
WallSmart January 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM
This is an Interesting story. The work crews which are a mixture of locals and immigrants do great work. The company has a lengthy list of references and satisfied residential customers. One wonders how a firm with so many years of experience ran afoul of the prevailing wage laws. Could it be that many of the crews were indeed "independent contractors"? One wonders what the "rest of the story" is in this case. Perhaps we should not be so quick to bash the business owners.
Andy Mann May 11, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Andy Not knowing is a terrible thing. You would have to know the CEO he is a crook. You see on the surface the job that he does look good. But, ask his technicians. "Shawn" fires techs that spend time to do the work right. He believe in using silicone where there should be solder and rivets on copper work. "They won't see it" he tells his technicians. He hires a lot of untrained undocumented workers as technicians. These unsuspecting workers see the surface work but have no understanding of the underlying structure. So what a "Satisfied client" has is a good looking roof. Just wait till weathering and a few years of snow and melting leave you with a leaky roof. I am not a roofer. But, I am very close to one of his former professional roofing technicians. "Shawn" fired this tech because he refuses to do shoddy work. So bash the hell out of him. This so called "Business owner is a criminal and got of to easy.
Andy Mann May 11, 2012 at 09:56 PM
WallSmart, let me enlighten you on Newton roofing and its practices 1. The CEO knew exactly what he was doing - If one get close "Shawn" will get his cops to arrest you with trumped charges. 2. He is versed on Prevailing wages - He planted false evedence on an employee that challenged him on on it once and had the worker band from Newton. 3. I was once offered a good job there after interviewing 6 on the job workers, there was too much shady things so I turned down the offer. 4. Why did he plead guilty? To cover up what you are not hearing about. So yes bash him. 2 years and quarter mil is just not enough.
Andy Mann May 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM
So Should I understand that one can break the law and go free because he provide jobs with cheap wages? The CEO is a criminal. POINT BLANK! Contracts are binding. The prevailing wages clause of these contracts are binding. Like you said, "taxpayers pay premiums for things like roofs on "public" buildings" Well I say pay the workers what is agreed on by the contract, or go to jail. Not everybody lose. The CEO will still gain. He only paid 1/4 Mil. where is the rest of the money he stole? I hope that each worker will sue him individually so the rest of the stolen money will be spent in legal fees.
Thomas Hardy June 29, 2012 at 05:28 PM
The New England area has been seeing this all too often. Small roofing contractors who believe they are above the law... They ultimately get punished. As a top roofer in Cambridge (http://www.northshoreroofer.com/roofing-cambridge-ma/), safety and abiding by the laws have always been something we emphasize.
Strugglingbizowner January 16, 2013 at 04:49 PM
As a business owner, I can assure you that all small business is under fire especially in the anti-business climate of Massachusetts. All Newton Contracting meant to the state was collectable fines and to further the political agendas of the AG office prosecutor. It looks good to take down companies in the public eye. But let's really see the good that came out of this and similar witch hunts. People lost dozens if not hundreds of jobs, services to the community are lessened, less taxes are collected and paid because of lost jobs and ultimately the return on the tax payer investment isn't ever recouped. Now I am not saying Shawn didn't do wrong here, he did! But he should be punished individually not the whole company as is it made up of more than him. People losing jobs is never a good thing especially in this economic climate. A more fitting punishment would have been to fine him and ban him from working in the sector for a number of years. I am sure there are good honest employees and workers at Newton Contracting that were hurt from this besides Shawn. And finally, the Unions are the ones to blame the most. They keep prices so inflated for their own good and gain that they render most companies unable to compete in the open marketplace. Don't think that the lobbying of unions isn't behind these witch hunts.
Jake Ostler March 25, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I haven't heard of these kind of labor problems in a while. I know that if a commercial roofing contractor in Chicago (http://www.vandoornroofing.com) would have got caught breaking laws, they would get a severe penalty and fine, I guess that's why these kinds of problems aren't that common here.
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