A judge will hear from the owner of a Boston-area pizza chain who is accused of abusing his staff for more than a decade, reportedly kicking one vict
A judge will hear from the owner of a Boston-area pizza chain who is accused of abusing his staff for more than a decade, reportedly kicking one victim’s teeth out and fabricating a police report that led to the arrest of another.
According to United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins, Stavros Papantoniadis, 47, a resident of Westwood and the proprietor of Stash’s Pizza, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston for a detention hearing after he was detained last week on a charge of one count of forced labor.
Based on court documents, Papantoniadis reportedly targeted victims who lacked immigration status, hired them at low wages, and required them to work, typically six to seven days per week, occasionally for more than eight hours per day, and frequently without breaks or overtime pay.
Charging documents say Papantoniadis used violence and threats to intimidate victims and force them to comply with his onerous workplace demands. He also threatened to have workers deported from the United States.
“Forced labor is a form of human trafficking. It is not a wage dispute. If someone is being compelled to work through the use of force, threats of force, or coercion, that is a federal crime,” Rollins stated. “We allege that Mr. Papantoniadis compelled and threatened victims to work against their will using fear, violence and the threat of deportation.”
One victim who worked at Stash’s Pizza from 2001 to 2015 reported to the authorities that Papantoniadis assaulted him violently on several occasions and called him a “f****** Muslim” for missing a day of work. The victim also claimed that Papantoniadis repeatedly made disparaging remarks about his religion.
The same victim also alleged that Papantoniadis threatened to kill him for getting medical attention and then kicked him in the genitalia. Papantoniadis is also charged with kicking, choking, and slapping the victim in the the teeth, which forced the victim to get fitted for dentures.
“The allegations, in this case, are horrific. Nobody has the right to violently kick, slap, punch or choke anyone, and certainly not an employer to an employee,” added Rollins. “This case illustrates the manipulative, violent and abusive tactics some employers utilize for their own greed and financial gain.”
Another victim mentioned in the papers claimed that after disclosing his intention to resign from his position, Papantoniadis attacked him and chased him into the parking lot. Papantoniadis is accused of filing a false police report after a third victim tried to leave, alleging that the victim had struck his vehicle and fled the scene after leaving the Norwood Stash’s Pizza location. The victim was stopped as a consequence, and the police issued a ticket.
Papantoniadis was characterized by Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England, as a person who frequently “created a climate of fear” for those who worked for him.
Currently, Papantoniadis runs pizzerias in Roslindale and Dorchester. Before moving to Wareham, he owned and operated pizzerias in Norwood, Norwell, Randolph, and Weymouth.
An investigation is still being conducted.