Plymouth Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Wage Theft Scheme

BOSTON – A Plymouth construction business owner pleaded guilty this week in federal court to scheming his employees out of thousands of dollars in wages.

Joseph Kerrissey III, 41, will have to pay nearly $92,000 in restitution to 37 former employees after willfully failing to pay them what they had earned.

“For years, this employer refused to pay his workers and took intentional steps to make it impossible for them to obtain their wages,” Attorney General Maura Healey said. “With this sentence, he is held accountable for this criminal scheme and will pay full restitution to the former employees he exploited.”

Kerrissey pleaded guilty to more than 100 charges and was sentenced to three years of probation. He will not be allowed to handle public works projects in Massachusetts for the next five years.

Kerrissey, the owner of Sunrise Equipment and Excavation Inc. and J. Kerrissey LLC, was indicted by a statewide grand jury in 2016 following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.

Healey’s office says Kerrissey regularly bounced payroll checks to employees, failed to issue checks, paid employees below their hourly-rate, and shaved hours from paychecks.

Authorities say Kerrissey used a variety of fraudulent excuses when confronted by employees about their missing wages, such as telling them the money should be in the account, saying they did not earn the wages, and threatening to file criminal complaints against them if they pursued legal action.

The wage theft and larceny scheme took place between 2011-2017, according to the AG’s office.

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