Investigation Discovers Theft, Shoddy Craftsmanship
Forty-two people have been charged s the result of a five-week investigation into unlicensed contractors in Nassau County conducted by the DA’s Office and the Department of Consumer Affairs, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Four face felony charges, including grand larceny in the third degree, for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from homeowners for improvements that were either not finished or never even started.
Investigators also rented a home in Nassau County and called in unlicensed contractors to perform “renovations.” The two-week operation yielded 12 charges of operating a home improvement business without a license, a misdemeanor, and the contractors’ vehicles were seized under the County Forfeiture Law. Twenty-six contractors were charged with the same misdemeanor after an investigation into complaints filed with Consumer Affairs.
The arrests were part of a multi-county enforcement sweep also executed in New York City and Westchester County.
“When you hire an unlicensed contractor, you’re rolling the dice,” Rice said, adding that consumers should thoroughly research home contractors before someone is hired. “Our homes are our most valuable financial asset and it is essential we entrust them to licensed, experienced professionals. Don’t let your American Dream become a nightmare.”
Facing felony charges are: Derek Armstrong, 47 of Hempstead, charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. Rice said Armstrong was hired by a Baldwin homeowner to do work on his home in 2005. Armstrong submitted the architect’s plans to the Town of Hempstead to obtain a permit, but the architect refused to work with Armstrong, who then put a different architect’s name and seal on the plans. The plans were also altered. He faces up to seven years in prison.
Edward Murphy, 42, of Wantagh, was charged with grand larceny in the third degree. Rice said Murphy was contracted to purchase backup generators for two group homes for autistic adults in Seaford and East Meadow. Murphy was paid $28,000 but never provided the homes with the generators or a refund. He faces up to seven years in prison.
John Napolitano, 47, of Hicksville, was charged with four counts of grand larceny in the third degree and scheme to defraud in the first degree. Rice said Napolitano defrauded four different homeowners of more than $113,000. Napolitano either took money and never performed any work at all or abandoned a project halfway through. One Long Beach homeowner had her entire kitchen demolished when Napolitano stopped work and didn’t refund her any money. He faces up to seven years in prison.
James Nichols, 46, of Rosedale, was charged with grand larceny in the third degree. Rice said Nichols received $47,500 from a homeowner to add an addition to his Elmont home. Nichols performed no work and did not refund the money. Nichols faces up to seven years in prison.
Charged with operating a home improvement business without a license in the house sting are Roberto Dopazo, 47, of Huntington; Donald Colucci, 57, of North Babylon; Jedidiah Irons, 22, of Oceanside; James Contrino, 33, of Oceanside; Debra Kaplan, 44, of Massapequa; George Brady, 55, of Queens; Manuel Vera-Munoz, 43, of South Farmingdale; Thomas Gallo, 48, of Levittown; Ronald Hinderhofer, 49, of Oceanside; Thomas Longo, 38, of North Merrick; Muzaffer Geyikgulo, 54, of Valley Stream; and Luis Saquipulla, 36, of Corona. All face up to a year in jail.
Working in conjunction with the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs, the following people were charged with operating a home improvement business without a license after complaints were lodged with Consumer Affairs by homeowners: Thomas Gironda, 40, of Port Jefferson Station; Arthur Spero, 47, of Wantagh; Lionel Toby, 51, of Long Beach; Joseph Sarno, 69, of Bayside; Bohdan Kuzminskyy, 48, of Holbrook; Joseph Samaroo, 49, of Cedarhurst; Rod Darling, 41, of Hempstead; Christopher Martino, 39, of Lynbrook; Eladio Otero, 61, of Malverne; Yojin Choi, 44, of Great Neck; George Stern, 60, of Syosset; Nicholas Spano, 46, of East Meadow; Louis Hapst, 43, of Copiague; Ramadan Nela, 46, of Dix Hills; Russell Martini, 31, of Westbury; George Lopez, 40, of Oceanside; Edward Hoffman, 46, of Islandia; Anthony Delmaro, 37, of Deer Park; John Bradford, 44, of East Rockaway; Rulx Regala, 39, of Bohemia; Larry Field, 46, of Elmont; Christopher J. Galvin, 46, of West Babylon; Thomas Heaney, 42, of Farmingdale; Adolph Ford, 63, of Hempstead; Daniel Dallolio, 43, of North Bellmore; Joseph Sceppa, 39, of Commack. All face up to a year in jail.
Handling the felony cases for the District Attorney’s Office is Assistant District Attorney Vickie Curran of the DA’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.