N.Y. Contractor Gets the Hammer From Authorities

December 30, 2004

Nassau County (New York) District Attorney Denis Dillon announced the arrest of Scott Peterson, 39, of East Patchogue by the DA’s Criminal Frauds Bureau. Peterson is accused of operating a home improvement business without a license, while defrauding a woman from Levittown, leaving her essentially homeless.

According to Dillon, “our office received a complaint from a resident of 38 Blue Jay Lane, Levittown that stated that the complainant had signed a contract with Scott Peterson, owner of Total Construction & Restoration, of 50B Carlough Road, Bohemia, for the demolition of the existing structure and a reconstruction of the house at 38 Blue Jay Lane. The total contract price was $96,050, with a specified payment schedule. The complainant asked Peterson if he was licensed in Nassau County, he responded that he was and dialed his cell phone representing that he was calling Consumer Affairs. The complainant was told by the person on the phone that Peterson did have a license to practice home improvement in Nassau County and that there were no complaints lodged against him.”

“On July 29, 2004 the complainant paid Scott Peterson a deposit of $14,050.00,” said Dillon. “He began the demolition of the home at 38 Blue Jay Lane in the end of September, because he told the complainant it took two months to obtain the necessary permits. After the initial demolition was complete in October, the complainant paid Scott Peterson the first payment of $14,050.00, as dictated by the contract. At that time Peterson indicated that he needed the second payment up front, prior to the completion of that portion of the work. He explained to the complainant that the money was to be used on the materials. The complainant paid Scott Peterson a second check in the amount of $14,050.00 the same day she made the first payment.”

According to Dillon, “On November 22, 2004, in response to Peterson’s demand, the complainant made the third and fourth payments to Scott Peterson,” Dillon continued. “She gave him two checks, each in the amount of $14,050. No additional work was done since the initial demolition. Every time the complainant asked Scott Peterson about the lack of progress on her house, he came up with numerous excuses and ultimately, just continuously put her off.”

“In the interim, Scott Peterson had sent the complainant a letter confirming that he was, in fact, licensed in Nassau County,” said Dillon. “Our investigation revealed that the license number he included in that letter belonged to two other individuals who own and operate a separate home improvement business. Scott Peterson lied to the complainant by fraudulently representing himself to have a valid home improvement license in Nassau County. He used another contractor’s valid license number without authority to further his scheme. Scott Peterson also had an individual by the name of “Bill” contact the complainant for an additional $8,500.00 that was not specified in the contract. According to “Bill”, the inspector visited the site and indicated that there was a serious problem with the concrete, and that it needed to be replaced. When the complainant called the inspector, Mr. Puglisi, he stated that there was no problem with her concrete and he never told the contractor that it needed to be replaced. At this juncture, the complainant realized she was being scammed.”

Dillon noted, “In total, the complainant paid Scott Peterson a total of $70,250.00, and now is living with family because her home is open to the elements and is uninhabitable. Currently, our office has charged Peterson with Operating a Home Improvement Business Without a License, a Class A Misdemeanor, the investigation is continuing and additional charges may be filed.”

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