BOSTON – The owner of a Brockton construction company and related businesses was sentenced yesterday on charges that he paid employees under-the-table payroll wages that defrauded the government, workers compensation insurance carriers and the state unemployment benefits program of more than $1.6 million.
Richard McLaughlin, 61, of Quincy, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of approximately $747,781 to the IRS, $207,572 to workers’ compensation insurance carriers and $731,188 to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. McLaughlin was also ordered to forfeit $207,572 to the federal government. In December 2020, McLaughlin pleaded guilty to five counts of filing false tax returns and three counts of mail fraud.
During tax years 2005 through 2010, McLaughlin paid wages in cash to employees under-the-table totaling more than $2.9 million, for which McLaughlin did not collect, account for or pay over to the IRS income and FICA taxes as required by law. The cash payments to employees were funded through off-the-books accounts McLaughlin created and used solely to pay the under-table wages. By failing to pay the required taxes on the $2.9 million, McLaughlin evaded nearly $750,000 in federal taxes.
McLaughlin was also required by state law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance premiums were based on an audit of his payroll records to determine actual wages paid. By failing to disclose the wages paid under-the-table, McLaughlin underreported the wages for which he owed more than $200,000 in insurance premiums.
In addition, McLaughlin instructed employees to apply for unemployment benefits while they were working for him. When McLaughlin falsely verified that employees had been laid off and concealed the fact that he was paying them wages, those employees received more than $725,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor A. Wild of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Massachusetts