A New England asbestos-removal firm pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to wage and benefit violations. AQE Inc., Windham, N.H., on Feb. 1 pleaded guilty to a “double-breasted shop” arrangement to defraud the Massachusetts Laborers Benefit Fund. Under the scheme, AQE set up a second corporate entity to pay union members at nonunion rates without union benefits. The firm pleaded guilty to 18 counts of mail fraud, one count of embezzlement and 18 counts of filing false documents with an employee retirement fund.