AG: New Bedford Man Forced Brazilian Couple to Work Long Hours for Low Wages
A New Bedford man is charged by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office following accusations that he underpaid and overworked a Brazilian couple and threatened them at gunpoint.
38-year-old Donny Sousa is charged with human trafficking, larceny, assault, and wage theft after being indicted last week by a Bristol County Grand Jury.
Attorney General Maura Healey says Sousa recruited a couple from Brazil in late 2014 to work for his cleaning company, DMS Cleaning Services of New Bedford, promising them $3,000 a month each.
An investigation revealed the couple was forced to work 12 to 15 hour shifts, seven days a week from December of 2014 to March of 2015, and were paid only $3,600 total over three months with three days off during that time. When they repeatedly asked for the rest of their wages, Sousa allegedly threatened them with a gun and refused to pay them what they were owed.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges Sousa still owes the couple $10,000 each for work they performed.
Healey’s office also says Sousa made a number of illegal deductions from their wages.