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Post date: July 11 2001

Capital District Home Contractors Plead Guilty To $1.1 Million Scheme That Targeted Elderly Consumers

Attorney General Spitzer and New York State Police Superintendent James W. McMahon today announced that two Schenectady county men pled guilty today in Albany County Court to two felony counts arising from a scam that defrauded 11 elderly Capital District residents of over $1.1 million.

John Sitterly, 47, and Richard Kelly 45, both of Niskayuna, former owners of Capital District Building and Remodeling, and Tri-City Home Restorations, pled guilty today in Albany County Court before Judge Daniel Lamont to two felony counts each.

Sitterly and Kelly both waived indictment and pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the second degree, a class C felony, and Scheme to Defraud in the first degree, a class E felony. As part of their plea, Sitterly and Kelly admitted to defrauding elderly customers throughout the Capital District of $1.1 million. They also admitted that they stole more than $528,000 from one elderly widow.

The maximum sentence on a class C felony is 5 to 15 years in state prison. The maximum for a class E felony is 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for September 28.

Sitterly and Kelly, who began their business in the Albany area in 1994, made it a practice to seek out elderly clients with whom they cultivated personal relationships. After gaining their trust, they persuaded their clients to lend them large sums of money, falsely claiming that the money would be used in their business and that the loans would be repaid. They then issued worthless promissory notes designed to give the transaction an appearance of legitimacy.

Some customers lost their entire life savings and retirement benefits. Others were persuaded to obtain credit and to mortgage their properties to provide the defendants with cash.

The case was investigated by investigators from the Special Investigations Unit of the State Police and from the Investigations Bureau of the Attorney General's Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Maher of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief William Comiskey.