Boston Pizza Shop Owner Convicted for Forcing Illegal Immigrants to Work

Boston pizza shop owner found guilty of forcing undocumented workers to work long hours under threats and violence. Learn about the case and the upcoming sentencing.

Jun 8, 2024 - 01:21
Jun 8, 2024 - 01:21
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Boston Pizza Shop Owner Convicted for Forcing Illegal Immigrants to Work
Boston Pizza Shop Owner Convicted for Forcing Illegal Immigrants to Work

The owner of two pizza shops in the Boston area has been found guilty of using threats and violence to force employees, who were in the country illegally, to work long hours under harsh conditions.

Details of the Case

Stavros Papantoniadis, from Westwood, a suburb of Boston, was convicted on Friday of forced labor. He was accused of making employees work up to 14 hours a day, sometimes every day of the week, by threatening them with physical harm or deportation.

Methods of Control

Prosecutors revealed that Papantoniadis employed workers without legal immigration status and kept a close watch on them using surveillance cameras he could access from his phone. He also frequently insulted and harassed them. The jury concluded that he either forced or tried to force six workers to comply with unreasonable demands through intimidation and violence.

Charges and Sentencing

Papantoniadis was convicted on three counts of forced labor and three counts of attempted forced labor. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, as well as up to five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for September 12.

Specific Incidents

In one instance, Papantoniadis chased a worker who tried to escape and falsely reported him to the police to get him back to work. In another case, he choked a worker who planned to quit, forcing the worker to flee to safety in a parking lot.

Official Statements

Acting United States Attorney Joshua Levy stated, "Today’s guilty verdict sends a strong message to employers who exploit workers through fear and intimidation that such actions will not be tolerated." He also encouraged other victims of workplace exploitation to come forward, assuring them that the federal government would take action.

Defense Response

Carmine Lepore, the lawyer representing Papantoniadis, expressed disappointment with the verdict, stating that he and his client respect the jury's decision but believe the victims' testimonies were given undue credibility. He suggested that the workers were motivated by a desire to attain legal status in the United States.

This case underscores the serious consequences of exploiting vulnerable workers and reinforces the commitment of federal authorities to protect employee rights.

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