Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Home Improvement Contractor Pinched In Ripoff For Pocketing $300K, Abandoning Project; Failure To Treat Cash As Trust Funds & Provide An Accounting Constitute Violations Of NYS Lien Law

From the Office of the Rockland County, New York District Attorney:

  • Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe [] announced that Peter Provenza (DOB 01/15/68) of 144 Strawtown Road, New City, New York has been charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony.

    Provenza, a licensed home improvement contractor who conducts his business under the corporate name of Provenza Contracting, Inc., is alleged to have stolen over $100,000 from a Clarkstown homeowner with whom he had contracted to perform renovations, including major remodeling and a room addition. The defendant surrendered himself to the Clarkstown court.

    According to the charges, the victim contracted with Provenza in April, 2011 to remodel the residence at a total cost of $485,000. Over the next several months, the victim paid the defendant over $300,000.

    In December, 2011, Provenza allegedly walked away from the job. All attempts by the victim to have money refunded and to procure an accounting of what renovations were completed were allegedly ignored by the defendant.

    Provenza is accused of abandoning the project and failing to provide an accounting or return of the victim’s money.

    The arrest of the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and the Rockland County Department of Consumer Protection.

    The defendant will be prosecuted for Grand Larceny through application of the New York State Lien Law, which mandates that, upon acceptance of funds in connection with a contract for improvement of real property or home improvement, those funds become a trust, which can be used only to pay for costs incurred in the performance of that homeowner’s project.

    The use of that money for any other purpose is a larceny under the Lien Law.

    Further, the contractor must maintain separate ledgers for each job for which he has contracted. By failing to provide an accounting of how the money had been used and by not returning the money upon the demand of the consumer, the contractor is accused of violating both the Penal Law and the Lien Law.

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