3 Mass. construction companies cited for allegedly withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages

BOSTON (WHDH) - Three Massachusetts construction companies have been cited for allegedly withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday.

The state’s Fair Labor Division issued five citations totaling $398,913 against Machados Construction Services LLC, two citations totaling $217,738 against Real Construction Inc., and five citations totaling $20,145 against WF North Lion Inc., Healey’s office said.

Healey’s office says it began investigating the companies after receiving a referral from the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters alleging that construction workers on the Sutton Police Station project were not being paid the prevailing wage.

Workers on the project were paid only $15 to $20 per hour for carpentry work, far less than the state-mandated prevailing wage rate of $68.72 per hour, according to the referral.

Investigators issued payroll demands to Machados, Real Construction, and WF that allegedly showed employees at each of the companies were regularly underpaid for work performed on the Sutton project.

“Companies that try to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying workers will be held accountable,” Healey said in a news release. “Prevailing wage laws are in place to ensure there is a level playing field for those who work on our public projects.”

Machados also failed to pay employees the prevailing wage on another public construction project awarded by the Malden Housing Authority, according to investigators.

An investigation remains ongoing.

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