Stash's owner convicted of tormenting, even beating, his underpaid, undocumented workers

A federal jury on Friday convicted Stavros Papantoniadis for a reign of terror against his workers, which included sending one man into surgery twice and tormenting other workers by threatening them with death and with turning them into ICE.

The jury, in US District Court in Boston, formally convicted Papantoniadis, 48, of Westwood, of three counts of forced labor and three counts of attempted forced labor. Judge F. Dennis Saylor set sentencing for Sept. 12. He potentially faces a sentence of up to 20 years.

Papantoniadis has been behind bars since his arrest on March 16, 2023, with judges declaring him too much of a threat to the workers who eventually testified against him to let him stay free.

Papantoniadis owns Stash's at Blue Hill Avenue and Columbia Road. He formerly owned Stash's on Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, but following his arrest, that place closed and was renamed Bel Ave Pizza. However, filings at the Secretary of State's office shows he remains the president of the LLC that owns that restaurant.

According to a statement by the US Attorney's office in Boston:

"Papantoniadis forced or attempted to force five men and one woman to work for him through violent physical abuse, threats of abuse, and repeated threats to report victims to immigration authorities to have them deported. According to evidence introduced at trial, Papantoniadis thinly staffed his pizza shops, and purposely employed workers without immigration status to work behind the scenes, for 14 or more hours per day and as many as seven days per week. To maintain control of those undocumented workers, he made them believe that he would physically harm them or have them deported. He monitored the workers with surveillance cameras, which he accessed from his cell phone, and constantly demeaned, insulted and harassed them. When Papantoniadis learned that one victim planned to quit, he violently choked him, causing that victim to flee the pizza shop and run to safety in the parking lot. When other victims separately expressed their intentions to quit, Papantoniadis told one victim that he would kill him and call immigration authorities; and he threatened another worker by telling him he knew where the victim lived. When another worker tried to leave and drive away from one of Papantoniadis’ pizza shops, Papantoniadis chased the victim down Route 1 in Norwood, Mass., and falsely reported the victim to the local police in an effort to pressure the victim to return to work at the pizza shop."

Separately, Papantoniadis now faces trial on charges he defrauded the federal government by claiming money for keeping workers employed during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic for a restaurant he no longer owned.

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