Benjamin J. Wish was quoted in The Boston Globe about the dismissal of fraud and embezzlement charges against his clients in a federal case involving "double-breasted" businesses and contributions to a union pension fund.
In a highly unusual outcome, the government agreed to dismiss all embezzlement and mail fraud charges involving the firm's clients, a New Hampshire-based asbestos removal company and its owner. A related company agreed to plead guilty to the charges and make a restitution payment of $500,000, less than 25 percent of the alleged amount at issue.
The case involved complex issues as to whether a non-union employer that operates a so-called "double-breasted" business, where the non-union company is paired with a union company, is obligated to make pension fund contributions to the Massachusetts Laborers Benefits Funds in certain circumstances.
"As the court stated, this is a very confusing area of the law, such that it should be a matter for negotiations between unions and employers, not for a criminal case," Mr. Wish told the Globe.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris, in approving the dismissal of charges, said in a court hearing that the case involved "very difficult and murky law," and, absent fraud, the law allows a company to operate a union and non-union shop contemporaneously.
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