Man charged with forcing 2 women to work for cleaning company.
A New Bedford man has been indicted on labor trafficking charges for allegedly forcing two women to work for a cleaning company at several locations, including in Bourne.
Fernando Roland, 60, was indicted Friday by a statewide grand jury on 12 counts of trafficking persons for forced service, 12 counts of willful failure to pay minimum wage, 12 counts of willful failure to pay overtime and one count each of assault and battery and assault, according to a statement from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The offenses took place at locations in Bristol, Norfolk, Plymouth and Barnstable counties, the statement says, and he will be arraigned later in the Superior Court in each of those counties.
Roland’s girlfriend, Lisa Mathews, 51, of New Bedford, also was indicted Friday on a charge of conspiracy to traffic persons for forced service. She will be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court, the statement says.
Roland’s employer, Martins Maintenance Inc., a janitorial and maintenance company based in East Providence, Rhode Island, was indicted on seven counts of trafficking of persons for forced service, nine counts of failure to pay minimum wage and eight counts of failure to pay overtime. Healey’s office alleges the company was aware of Roland’s activities.
The attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Fair Labor Divisions began an investigation with the FBI Boston Division’s Human Trafficking Child Exploitation Task Force on a referral from Rhode Island officials, according to the statement.
The investigation found that Roland recruited a woman from abroad to do cleaning work for the company, paying her no wages during her first several weeks of work and “well below” minimum wage for work afterward, the statement says. Roland also required the victim to cook and clean at his residence, where she lived. He retained her passport, threatened her with arrest by immigration officials and assaulted her, the statement says.
The investigation found there was a second victim, who also was paid well below minimum wage and was physically threatened by Roland, according to the statement.