There is a line over which a home improvement contractor cannot go without facing a probability of criminal charges. The most glaring example of crossing the line would be to take a sizable payment of several thousand dollars up front and then not do any of the work promised. That is a breach of contract for certain, but under many factual circumstances, it also can rise to the level of a criminal offense.
The New York State Police recently arrested a home improvement contractor in Middletown for allegedly taking thousands from two homeowners who reported that he never did the work. The total amount taken by the suspect for the two home improvement agreements came to $15,875.00, according to the police. The police issued felony charges in the form of two counts of grand larceny in the third degree, which is a class D felony.
In some cases, it is difficult for the prosecutor to prove criminal intent, especially where the contractor performed significant or substantial work and then stopped due to a dispute with the homeowner. Such scenarios do not easily fit into the criminal mold for grand larceny charges mainly because it is doubtful that the accused acted with criminal intent to steal money. In this case, it appears from the allegations that the accused did not work at all, but that is not a certainty and must be investigated by defense counsel.
Defense counsel will start by obtaining his client’s version of events.If counsel learns that work was performed, then a defense to the alleged criminal offense may exist. In New York, if one steals property worth more than $3,000 and less than $50,000, it is grand larceny in the third degree. As discussed, this criminal offense is a class D felony under the state criminal laws.
Source: hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com, “Contractor Arrested for Larceny“, Kathy Welsh, June 4, 2016