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Fonda roofer pleads guilty to scamming homeowners

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - Updated: 1:48 PM

Staff report

ALBANY — A Fonda roofer who took homeowners’ money and ran without doing the work faces prison after pleading guilty today, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Robert Decker, 59, of A+ Rated Contracting, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and petit larceny in Saratoga County Court.

In addition to his guilty plea today, Decker previously pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument for providing a forged liability insurance certificate to a homeowner who had hired him to do some roofing work.

He will be sentenced June 27 in Saratoga County Court and Montgomery County Court to between three and nine years in prison. He also must pay up to $375,000 in restitution to homeowners he defrauded.

“Home repairs are costly and stressful to begin with, without the added worry that you may be taken advantage of in the process,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a news release. “By holding dishonest and fraudulent contractors like Mr. Decker accountable, we are sending the message that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Decker admitted that from August 2011 to late 2013, he engaged in a scheme to defraud unsuspecting homeowners.

Despite being prohibited from operating as a home improvement contractor, Decker solicited customers throughout the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley. In order to obtain jobs, Decker told his prospective customers that his roofing company was fully insured.

The company did not have coverage for roofing, and often had no insurance coverage at all, police said. After the contracts were signed and money was received, Decker left many jobs unfinished, and in some cases never performed any work whatsoever.

State police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “With this arrest, a roofer who took thousands of dollars from his victims, will now have to pay. No one is above the law in New York State. These dishonest business practices not only cost the victims, but also the public. This arrest should serve as a reminder that anyone taking advantage of others will be held accountable.”

Decker admitted that as part of his scheme, he stole $5,000 last summer from a Malta homeowner who had hired him to replace a roof. Decker never deposited the money into the required escrow account, did no work whatsoever, and refused to refund any of the money, a news release said.

Decker also admitted that he stole nearly $1,000 from a Saratoga homeowner in 2012. He further admitted to filing false documents with the town of Clifton Park, claiming that his roofing company was exempt from having workers’ compensation coverage.

In 2003, following numerous complaints from homeowners, the Attorney General’s Office obtained a consent order that permanently enjoined Decker from operating as a home improvement contractor in the state,s unless he filed a $100,000 performance bond with the attorney general’s office. Decker has never filed such a bond.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Nancy Snyder of the criminal enforcement and financial crimes bureau of the attorney general’s office.

The case was investigated by attorney general investigator Barbara Butler and deputy chief investigator Anthony Karam.

     

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