MIDDLEBOROUGH — Police Chief Joseph Perkins reports that after a two-week investigation into possible predatory business practices, the Middleborough Police Department has arrested and charged a Brockton man who was in the process of opening a coffee shop in Middleborough after he allegedly assaulted an intellectually disabled man in his employ.
CHARLES G. EL-HELOU, AGE 53, OF BROCKTON was charged with one count of Assault and Battery on a Person with an Intellectual Disability (Felony).
On Thursday, June 20, Middleborough detectives spoke with an Assonet woman who reported that her 25-year-old son had allegedly been assaulted by EL-HELOU. The woman’s son had started working as a painter and laborer in late May at the not-yet opened Hugs & Yums coffee lounge, which is owned by EL-HELOU. According to the report, on May 31, the suspect allegedly tried to get the man to sign his vehicle’s title over to him by promising to buy the man a new truck from a dealership. The man refused and later reported the interaction to his mother.
A few days later, during a June 3 event at the Center Street business, the employee allegedly told EL-HELOU that he could not come to work the next day because his vehicle was being repaired. At that time, EL-HELOU allegedly claimed the vehicle belonged to him and grabbed the man by the neck and made a growling sound before releasing him.
The victim continued to work at the business until June 14, but was never paid for any of his labor, despite filling out a W2 and other employment forms. The victim’s uncle accompanied him to the business on June 14 to collect his tools, and after a conversation with the uncle, EL-HELOU allegedly gave the victim a quantity of cash.
Middleborough Police Detectives made a report and filed for an arrest warrant at Wareham District Court, which was authorized by a magistrate on Friday. EL-HELOU was arrested late Friday afternoon without incident.
EL-HELOU is known to police.
“In this instance, we allege that the suspect withheld compensation and assaulted his intellectually disabled employee while trying to force him to sign over the title to his motor vehicle,” Chief Perkins said. “This is a disturbing and unfortunate situation, in which we believe vulnerable citizens were being taken advantage of, and we urge all of our residents and families to be vigilant.”
The investigation remains active and ongoing by Middleborough Police Detectives, and additional charges may be added.
The case has also been reported to the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission and a report will be filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office on Monday.
EL-HELOU was ordered held on $500 bail pending arraignment Monday in Wareham District Court.
If anyone has any information about this case or has any questions or concerns, they are asked to contact the Middleborough Police Department at 508-947-1212.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.