Toys “R” Us pays more than $100K to settle claims that the company was shortchanging departing workers; SEC wraps up case against Cambodians who scammed victims with the same ethnic background; National Grid unveils details about its “smart grid” program; Norwell company buys Bedford firm.
Toys ‘R’ us makes restitution to departing employees
Toys “R” Us will pay more than $100,000 to resolve a probe by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office into a complaint that the company failed to properly compensate departing employees for unused vacation time. The Wayne, N.J.-based retailer has agreed to pay $95,800 in restitution, to be spread among 547 former Toys “R” Us workers and 266 former Babies “R” Us employees in Massachusetts. The company will also pay a penalty of $8,000 to the state. Coakley’s office started investigating the company in February 2008 after receiving a complaint from a former employee. The company conducted a self-audit after being contacted by Coakley’s office and provided that information to Coakley’s staff.
Quincy pair told to pay $26M to victims
The Securities and Exchange Commission has entered judgments in an affinity fraud case, requiring defendants to repay as much as $26 million in restitution to their victims. Defendants James Bunchan and Seng Tan of Quincy were sentenced to extensive prison terms in November in a related criminal case. A third defendant, Christian Rochon, of Warwick, R.I., was sentenced to a year of home confinement last August.
Authorities say the defendants, using their Cambodian heritage to gain victims’ trust, promised members of the Cambodian immigrant community guaranteed monthly returns on investments that could be passed on to future generations. In fact, federal prosecutors say the defendants ran a pyramid scheme that ceased making payments in 2005. The $26 million figure announced by the SEC would be reduced by any restitution paid as part of the criminal case.
National Grid begins energy use program
National Grid is unveiling a “smart grid” pilot program today aimed at including as many as 15,000 electric customers in Worcester. The program will allow customers to more easily take advantage of renewable sources at their homes, such as solar or wind power, as well as give them more control and choice over their energy use. National Grid is filing the program to meet a deadline for major utilities to create such programs that was imposed by a new state law.
Norwell’s bluestone buys Bedford business
Bluestone Energy Services in Norwell has acquired Control Solutions, a Bedford firm that specializes in computerized building control systems, for an unspecified amount. Ken Rackowski, Control Solutions’ president and sole full-time employee, has joined Bluestone’s team in Norwell, according to a spokeswoman for Bluestone. Rackowski will lead Bluestone’s data center services division.
Gas prices increase 7 cents last week
Gas prices in the state rose again in the past week, this time by seven cents a gallon, to $1.97 a gallon on Monday, AAA Southern New England said. Gas prices in the state have risen by 34 cents per gallon since the start of the year. But the current price is still eight cents per gallon below the national average. The state average a year ago was $3.14 a gallon.
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