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Portsmouth construction company owner charged with wage theft and check fraud

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Portsmouth man was arraigned in Newport County District Court yesterday on charges stemming from his failure to pay wages to two former employees in 2018.

Ronald Harnois (age 43), owner of Roharn Construction in Portsmouth, is charged with one count of check fraud, two counts of failure to make payment to an employee upon separation, and one count of failure to provide a statement of accounting, deductions, or withholdings.

As alleged in the criminal complaint, Harnois is accused of failing to pay two former employees a total of over $1,500 in wages for residential construction work during the summer and fall of 2018.

One former employee is alleged to have been paid two checks that were later returned for insufficient funds. Harnois, to date, still owes that former employee over $730 in unpaid wages.

It is also alleged in the complaint that Harnois refused to pay another employee for work he performed in August and September of 2018, owing over $800 in unpaid wages.

The case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General from the Department of Labor and Training, following the Department's attempts to prompt Harnois to pay the unpaid wages.

Special Assistant Attorney General Carole L. McLaughlin and investigators from the Office of the Attorney General are leading the prosecution and investigation of the case.

An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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