Boston Pizza Chain Owner Convicted of Forced Labor Charges

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The owner of a Boston pizza chain, Stash’s Pizza, has been convicted of forced labor charges after mistreating six employees. Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis, 48, of Westwood, faced three counts of forced labor and three counts of attempted forced labor. Papantoniadis threatened, abused, and exploited workers without immigration status, making them work excessively long hours and under severe conditions.

Stash’s Pizza Owner Convicted

Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis, the owner of Stash’s Pizza, has been found guilty of forced labor. Papantoniadis was convicted of three counts of forced labor and three counts of attempted forced labor. The charges stem from his mistreatment of six employees, forcing them to meet excessive demands.

He used physical abuse, threats of violence, and the threat of deportation to control his workers. He purposely hired workers without immigration status to exploit them. He made them work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, in his understaffed pizza shops.

Abusive Practices Uncovered

Papantoniadis monitored his employees with surveillance cameras. He threatened them with harm or deportation if they didn’t comply with his demands. In one instance, he violently choked an employee who wanted to quit.

He also threatened to kill another worker and call immigration authorities. He even chased a worker down Route 1 in Norwood and falsely reported him to the police. His actions created a climate of fear among his workers.

History of Labor Violations

This isn’t the first time Papantoniadis faced scrutiny for his labor practices. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a suit against Stash’s Pizza and related companies for failing to pay proper overtime and falsifying time records. The department obtained an injunction in 2018 to stop these violations and protect employees from retaliation.

In 2019, Papantoniadis was ordered to pay over $300,000 in back wages. Since then, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has received three more complaints against Stash’s Pizza for wage and hour violations. This case highlights the importance of workers’ rights and the need to protect all workers, regardless of immigration status.

Contact Information

Stash’s Pizza operates locations in Dorchester and Roslindale. Papantoniadis is scheduled for sentencing on September 12, 2024. Each count carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to five years of supervised release, and restitution.

For those who believe they are victims of labor trafficking or have information, they can contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mass COSH, Greater Boston Legal Services, or the Boston Worker Empowerment Cabinet for assistance.

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