A.G. Schneiderman Announces Felony Guilty Pleas By Roofer Who Defrauded Capital Region Homeowners
Robert Decker To Be Sentenced To A Total Of 3 To 9 Years In Prison, Will Pay Up To $375,000 In Restitution
Schneiderman: Dishonest and Fraudulent Contractors Will Be Held Accountable
ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, together with Joseph D'Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, and Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, announced felony guilty pleas today by Robert Decker, a roofer who stole thousands of dollars from homeowners by taking their money but failing to complete work on their homes.
“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 Schneiderman said. “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, 59, of Fonda, pleaded guilty today before the Honorable Judge Jerry J. Scarano in Saratoga County Court to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class D felony), Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a Class E felony), Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (a Class E felony), and Petit Larceny (a Class A misdemeanor). He 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, A+ Rated Contracting, was fully insured. In fact, the company did not have coverage for roofing, and often had no insurance coverage at all. After the contracts were signed and money was received, Decker left many jobs unfinished, and in some cases never performed any work whatsoever.
Police Superintendent D’Amicosaid, "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. 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 addition to his guilty plea today, Decker previously pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a class D felony), for providing a forged liability insurance certificate to a homeowner who had hired him to do some roofing work.
Decker is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27 th in Saratoga County Court and Montgomery County Court. Decker will serve a total of 3 to 9 years in prison and must pay up to $375,000 in restitution to homeowners he defrauded.
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 of New York unless he filed a $100,000 performance bond with the Attorney General. Decker has never filed such a bond.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the New York State Police, the State Department of Financial Services, and local law enforcement agencies for their assistance with this investigation.
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 Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary Fishman, Deputy Bureau Chief Stephen Maher and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is part of the Criminal Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The case was investigated by OAG Investigator Barbara Butler and Deputy Chief Investigator Anthony Karam.