Home Contractors Indicted For Stealing $1 Million From Elderly Woman
State Attorney General Spitzer and New York State Police Superintendent James McMahon today announced the indictment of three Capital District residents for their role in a scheme that defrauded an elderly Schenectady woman of more than $1 million in assets.
The 16-count sealed indictment, which was opened today before Judge Michael C. Eidens in Schenectady County Court, charges Noel Hasslinger and John May, who jointly operated Hasslinger Construction, a home improvement business, and an associate, Jennifer Miller, with defrauding Constance O. Davies a 78-year-old retiree suffering from Alzheimer's Disease under a complex scheme which resulted in the loss of more than $1 million.
"Financial crimes committed against the elderly are intolerable, and my office will continue its aggressive prosecution of such cases", said Spitzer. "Predators of the elderly cannot escape prosecution simply because they use cons and schemes in an attempt to cover their trail. We will continue to be focused on these dishonest contractors, and we will continue to unravel their schemes."
The indictment charges Hasslinger, 38, and May, 36, with fifteen counts: five counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class "C" felony; four counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a Class "E" Felony; two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "D" Felony; two counts of Violations of the General Business Law, a class "E" felony; one count of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class "E" felony; and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class "E" felony.
Miller, 29, is charged with two counts: one count of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class "E" felony and one count of criminal facilitation in the Fourth Degree, a class "A" misdemeanor.
Hasslinger was arraigned before Judge Michael C. Eidens in Schenectady County Court on April 12, 2002 and entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was set at $75,000, and he was remanded to Schenectady County Jail. May and Miller were arraigned today, before Judge Eidens. Both entered pleas of not guilty. Bail for May was set at $100,000, he was remanded to Schenectady County Jail. Miller was released under supervision.
According to the indictment and other court documents, in 1997, May and Hasslinger performed needless work for Davies, substantially overcharged her for labor and materials, and convinced her to sign a power of attorney giving them full control of her substantial assets.
Over the next two years, Hasslinger and May drained Davies' bank accounts, and liquidated her stocks and bonds, using the proceeds for their own benefit. At the time Davies met Hasslinger and May in 1997, her net worth was approximately $1.2 million dollars. At the time of her death in April 2000, she was financially destitute.
The case is being handled by Deputy Bureau Chief William Comiskey and Assistant Attorney General Stephen J. Maher, of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, investigators Harry Mulhall and Frank Kovacs of the Investigations Bureau; and Jorge Plata and Charles McCabe of the New York State Police.
The charges contained in the in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.