N.Y. Contractor Gets the Hammer as A.G. Lays Down Lawsuit for Defrauding Public

October 13, 2004

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has announced a lawsuit against a Columbia County home improvement contractor for repeatedly and persistently defrauding consumers.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges that Vincent Van Pinto, doing business as Hudson Valley Modulars V.P. Building Corp. and Millennium Modulars, accepted payments from consumers and never performed work or performed poor quality work.

In filing the lawsuit, Spitzer’s office seeks a court order permanently barring Pinto from the home improvement industry unless and until he posts a $200,000 performance bond.

In addition, Spitzer’s office seeks full monetary restitution and damages for all injured consumers, civil penalties for Pinto’s violations of law and the costs of the investigation and lawsuit.

Spitzer filed the lawsuit after his investigation reportedly revealed that several consumers paid significant advance deposits for work that was never done. Some jobs were not even started and others were abandoned after delays and pressure by Pinto for additional advance payments.

In instances where some work was done, the work was reportedly shoddy, requiring consumers to hire contractors to both fix the problems created by Pinto as well as to complete the job. Successfully, Pinto failed to respond to consumer’s repeated attempts to contact him to reschedule appointments or obtain refunds. Over the years, Pinto has reportedly been sued by many consumers, subcontractors and suppliers. However, they never collected any of their judgments.

Pinto reportedly failed to comply with state consumer protection laws that require home improvement contracts to provide consumers with notice of important rights, including a three-day right to cancel and the contractor’s obligation to place consumers’ deposits in separate escrow accounts unless the post a performance bond.

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