A Plymouth man accused of swindling dozens of his construction employees out of their wagespleaded guilty Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court and ordered to pay them nearly $100,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.
Joseph B. Kerrissey, III, 41, was also sentenced to three years of probation, and barred for bidding on public works projects for five years, state Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday.
Kerrissey and his two companies, J. Kerrissey LLC and Sunrise Equipment & Excavation Inc., pleaded guilty to more than one hundred charges including willful wage and hour violations, larceny, and failure to pay the state’s prevailing wage from 2011 to 2017, prosecutors said.
Kerrissey will have to pay $91,743 to 37 former employees of the two companies,which did public construction projects in Hanover, Weston and West Tisbury, the statement said.
“For years, this employer refused to pay his workers and took intentional steps to make it impossible for them to obtain their wages,” Healey said in the statement. The transgressions included bouncing payroll checks, not issuing checks, shaving hours from paychecks, and paying employees less than their agreed-upon rate, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors launched an investigation after several employees complained about not getting paid by Kerrissey, who was indicted in 2016.
He made up an array of excuses to avoid paying, including “telling employees the money should be in the account, saying they did not earn the wages or had to work for nothing, and threatening to take out criminal complaints if they attempted to use the legal system to obtain their wages,” according to the statement.Alana Levene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @alanalevene.