Home Building Contractors Warned by Authorities
A recent conviction is of great interest to home building contractors all around the country. At the Middlesex Superior Court, new home and renovation contractor Peter DeGennaro was convicted of fraud in five counts and another five counts for embezzlement.
DeGennaro was a businessman who operates in Tewksbury and Wilmington in Massachusetts. He was convicted for allegedly cheating customers for money totaling over $100,000. His co-defendant and bookkeeper, Charlene Conners, was also found guilty of fraud on five counts, although she was acquitted on 11 other charges.
Sources from the office of the Middlesex District Attorney have revealed that the crimes were committed between November 2001 and August 2002. DeGennaro reportedly accepted over $100,000 of escrow funds meant for the construction of two houses, but the money was allegedly used for something else. When the customers asked the contractor to return the money, he was unable to do so since the funds were allegedly already spent on something else.
In one of the cases, DeGennaro was revealed to have accepted an initial deposit worth $5,000 for the construction of a house in Wilmington. Once the contract had been signed, he supposedly accepted an additional $43,500. The money was supposed to have been put on escrow like most home building contractors usually do, but DeGennaro deposited it instead on a checking account. Conners, DeGennaro's co-defendant, was reportedly present during the meeting with the customer.
The second case was almost the same as the first one. DeGennaro accepted a deposit for the construction of a house. The $5,000 deposit was reportedly followed by a check worth $41,000 after the building contract has been signed. Additional $7,000 was allegedly received by DeGennaro for extra expenses in the building of the house. The total amount was then deposited in a private account instead of being escrowed as promised by DeGennaro to his customer.
According to court documents, both homes were never built by DeGennaro. The two customers even signed extensions to have their homes built, but it turned out that the contractor had not even secured the property rights from the city. Authorities have stated that the case of DeGennaro should serve as a lesson to other home building contractors who are planning to commit questionable actions towards their customers.