A.G. Schneiderman Announces Prison Sentence For Roofer Who Repeatedly Defrauded Capital Region Homeowners
Robert Decker Sentenced 3 To 9 Years In Prison
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 the sentencing of Robert Decker, 60, a contractor who stole thousands of dollars from homeowners by taking their money but failing to complete work on their homes.
“This case sends a clear message that contractors who defraud unsuspecting homeowners by failing to complete work or performing shoddy work will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “There has to be one set of rules for everyone, and our office is committed to standing up for consumers against economic predators like unscrupulous home contractors.”
“The sentencing today of Robert Decker sends a strong message and a reminder that dishonest business practices will not be tolerated in New York State,” said Joseph D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police. “The State Police will continue to work with Attorney General Schneiderman to protect homeowners from these types of criminals and to hold accountable those who mistakenly think they can get away with these schemes.”
From April 2011 through December 2013, Decker engaged in a scheme to defraud dozens of unsuspecting homeowners throughout the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley. Despite being permanently banned from working as a home improvement contractor in 2003, Decker represented himself and his company, A+ Rated Contracting, as being duly authorized and insured. Based on his false representations, homeowners hired Decker to do home improvements. However, after taking thousands of dollars in deposits from homeowners, Decker failed to complete the agreed-upon work or did no work at all, and then failed to refund the deposits.
In several instances, Decker took money, performed only demolition work and then walked away from the jobs, leaving homes exposed to the elements. Decker also filed a form with the Town of Clifton Park falsely claiming an exemption from workers’ compensation coverage and presented forged certificates of liability insurance to several homeowners.
Yesterday, the Honorable Felix J. Catena of the Montgomery County Court sentenced Decker to one to three years in prison. On April 17, 2014, Decker had pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.
Today, the Honorable Jerry J. Scarano sentenced Decker in Saratoga County Court to prison terms of one to three years each for his crimes of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, with each term to run consecutively to each other and to the prison sentence imposed in Montgomery County. Judge Scarano also sentenced Decker to 1 1/3 to four years in prison for the crime of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, with that sentence to run concurrently with the other prison sentences. Decker was also sentenced to one year in jail for Petit Larceny, though that sentence will be fulfilled by serving his prison sentences. In addition to his jail sentences, Judge Scarano ordered a restitution hearing on October 9, 2014 to determine the amount that Decker must repay his victims. Decker, 60 years old, pleaded guilty in Saratoga County Court on May 5, 2014.
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 but continued his business operations.
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 was 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 Stephanie Swenton, and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephen Maher. 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.