WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The owner of a cleaning company that used to provide services for the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) was arrested Thursday and charged with wage theft, Attorney General Peter Neronha announced.
Neronha said Marcello Pompa, owner of M&M Cleaning of MA, failed to pay roughly $10,855 in wages to 16 of his former employees before the company went out of business in March 2019.
“Wage theft is a persistent problem in Rhode Island and addressing it has been one of my top priorities,” Neronha said. “When employers cheat their employees out of hard-earned wages, they are not only harming those employees and their families, but also gaining an unfair advantage over businesses that are playing by the rules.”
Between 2017 and 2019, Pompa’s company provided cleaning services to CCRI’s Lincoln, Providence, and Warwick campuses and employed approximately 25 people.
Neronha said the 16 employees who reported Pompa told authorities that he failed to pay their wages from March 4-15 in 2019. The employees noticed irregularities on their pay stubs, Neronha said, including that they were paid on different days and were sometimes paid by personal checks from Pompa instead of from the business.
Pompa, 37, of Saugus, Mass., also falsely reported M&M Cleaning’s estimated annual payroll in 2018, according to Neronha. He said Pompa reported $10,000 as the estimated annual payroll, but state tax records revealed that the company reported approximately $388,311 in wages that year.
M&M Cleaning was able to get a lower workers’ compensation insurance premium from their insurance provider because Pompa had lied about the annual payroll, Neronha said. He is being charged with one count of workers’ compensation insurance premium fraud.
Pompa is also being charged with one count of failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for his employees from December 1, 2017 to September 22, 2018.
Neronha said Pompa was previously convicted of workers compensation insurance fraud and larceny in Massachusetts in 2019. He was sentenced to one year in prison with six months to serve.
Pompa is scheduled to be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court on July 17.