Potential additional victims have until July 9, 2019, to file claims
Attorney General Letitia James today announced that Roger Gregory, a home improvement contractor, has been sentenced to a six-month jail term to run consecutively to a 30-day term of incarceration for failing to abide by the terms of a 2016 consent order in which he was found guilty of civil and criminal contempt. Gregory continued to work as a home improvement contractor without posting a $35,000 performance bond and failed to make monthly payments for consumer restitution in violation of a prior court order.
“New York has no place for businesses and individuals who fail to provide New York consumers with services they paid for,” said James. “Home improvement contractors must comply with the laws of this state and will continue to be held accountable by my office.”
The AG’s Office first initiated legal proceedings against Gregory in 2011 based on complaints from consumers about his failure to finish jobs and shoddy workmanship. In January 2012, a court order was obtained barring Gregory from engaging in the home improvement contracting business unless he posted a $35,000 performance bond and ordering him to pay $12,437 for consumer restitution, civil penalties and costs. The AG’s Office then learned from consumers that Gregory was continuing to operate a home improvement contracting business without posting a bond. In 2016, a court order was obtained finding Gregory guilty of civil and criminal contempt and ordering that he pay an additional $10,240 for aggrieved victims. At that time, the court held sentencing in abeyance on the condition that Gregory make monthly payments of $500 for restitution, costs and penalties; however, he stopped making payments and continued to operate as a home improvement contractor without posting a bond. The Attorney General’s Office then filed a motion seeking Gregory’s incarceration.
Gregory acknowledged his violation of the 2016 Consent Order, and was sentenced to a six-month jail term for civil contempt to run consecutively to a 30-day term of incarceration for criminal contempt. The sentences are suspended, however, for so long as Gregory satisfies certain conditions of suspension, including weekly payments of $125 until all amounts owed for restitution, penalties and costs are paid off. If Gregory fails to make a weekly payment, he must serve consecutive weekend sentences until that payment is made. If Gregory fails to report for any weekend sentence or fails to make a subsequent weekly payment, he will then serve his full sentence.
James urges consumers who entered into contracts with Gregory after Nov. 22, 2016, and who may have been defrauded, to promptly contact her office. In order to be eligible for restitution, consumers must submit their complaints by July 6, 2019. Consumers can call 315-448-4848 and request that a complaint form be mailed or they can file their complaints online.
When planning to use a home improvement contractor, consumers should consider the following tips:
- Determine exactly what you want done, then look for a qualified contractor
- Shop around; get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided
- Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door-to-door
- Ask for references: check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers and neighbors
- Always contact any references provided to you
- Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed
- Do not pay unreasonable advance sums; negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job
- Never pay the full price up front
- Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing
Additional information on how to avoid home improvement scams can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith C. Malkin with the assistance of Investigator Andrea Buttenschon. The Syracuse Office is led by Assistant Attorney General in Charge Ed Thompson. The Syracuse Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Offices, which is led by Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber.