3 contractors charged with stealing over $60K from construction workers

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha provides an update on the sale of Narragansett Electric, Monday, May 23, 2022. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Attorney General Peter Neronha said Tuesday that three contractors were charged for stealing over $60,000 from construction workers.

The attorney general’s office said that 33-year-old Eduardo Benitez, 36-year-old Teresa Rojas, and 25-year-old Yuliana Gonzalez allegedly stole a total of $64,000 from 14 workers the construction and renovation of RISE Prep Mayoral Academy in Woonsocket in 2018 and 2019.

Benitez, who owns “Benitez Y Rojas Drywall,” “Empire Drywall,” “and New Generation Drywall,” is charged with three counts of unlawful appropriation of over $1,000, three counts of failure to pay wages, two counts of conspiracy to unlawfully appropriate money, and one count of providing a false document to a public official.

Rojas, who was affiliated with Empire Drywall, is charged with one count of unlawful appropriation of over $1,000, one count of conspiracy to unlawfully appropriate money, and one count of providing a false document to a public official.

Gonzalez, who was affiliated with New Generation Drywall, is charged with one count of unlawful appropriation of over $1,000, one count of conspiracy to unlawfully appropriate money, and one count of providing a false document to a public official.

Prosecutors say that the three didn’t pay the workers all of the money that they were owed. They were supposed to pay them $50 per hour but instead paid them in the $20-25 range.

““While we were able to fashion a felony prosecution in this case, the fact remains that wage theft under any circumstances must become a felony under Rhode Island law. Working men and women in Rhode Island deserve justice,” said Neronha.

The three are also accused of submitting false certified payroll documents to the state.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island