Former Onset pizzeria owner arrested on forced labor charges
The owner of a pizzeria chain that once had a location in Onset was arrested on Thursday, March 16 and charged with forced labor, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts.
Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis, 47, of Westwood, is the owner of Stash’s Pizza, which currently has locations in Dorchester and Roslindale.
It is alleged that Papantoniadis subjected employees who lacked immigration status to severe physical and verbal abuse for years.
He is also alleged to have underpaid employees, threatened them with deportation and used threats and acts of violence so they would obey his “excessive workplace demands.”
His workers were allegedly employed for low wages, working six or seven days a week for “far more than eight hours per day” without breaks or overtime pay. He allegedly “targeted” employees who lacked immigration status, so that they would tolerate his abuse under the threat of deportation.
One, who worked at Stash’s Pizza from 2001 to 2015, claimed that Papantoniadis would force him to work, slap him, choke him and break his teeth to the point that he had to wear dentures. When he missed a day of work, Papantoniadis pushed him to the floor and called him an anti-Muslim slur.
This same employee claimed that, in a separate incident, Papantoniadis kicked him in the genitals. When the employee sought medical treatment, Papantoniadis threatened to kill him or report him to immigration authorities if he did not return to work.
Papantoniadis operated a Stash’s Pizza location at 182 Onset Ave. from 2013 to 2020. It is now the location of the Onset Beach Patio & Grille, which opened in May 2022.
According to the press release, former employees claimed that Papantoniadis “attacked” an employee who threatened to quit. When another employee threatened to quit, Papantoniadis filed a false police report claiming that the employee hit his car.
Papantoniadis was charged with one count of forced labor in federal court in Boston on Thursday. If convicted, he will face a prison sentence of up to 20 years, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
His detention hearing took place on Monday, March 20.