FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Unlicensed Contractor Indicted for Stealing More Than $192,000
From Windsor Terrace Homeowners
Allegedly Took Money for Work That Was Not Done,
Used Funds for Personal Expenses Including Debts, Travel and Restaurants
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New Jersey man has been indicted on a charge of grand larceny for allegedly taking $192,675 from a Windsor Terrace couple who hired him to perform extensive renovations to their two-family home. No work was performed by the defendant, who is an unlicensed contractor.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This unlicensed contractor allegedly scammed a family out of a large sum of money, never performed the work he was paid to do, and we will now seek to hold him accountable. I urge anyone hiring a home improvement contractor to check that they are properly licensed by and in good standing with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Stephen Achille, 40, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on October 19, 2022.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in April 2019 the victims purchased a two-family house in Windsor Terrace with plans to renovate it and create a three-story house with two apartments – one for their family and the other for their relatives. The victims later hired the defendant and his company, Red Bank Construction LLC, to perform the renovation.
It is alleged that the defendant submitted a written proposal to the victims’ architect in September 2019, including work related to excavation, concrete, scaffolding, walls, flooring, cabinetry, electrical, plumbing, bath accessories, roofing, etc. The total price proposed for the work was $963,375.00. In December 2019, it is alleged, the victims accepted the proposal and gave the defendant a deposit of $192,675.20.
After receiving the deposit, it is alleged, the defendant became less responsive to inquiries from the victims. In February 2020, the victims requested the defendant return a copy of the fully executed contract and a copy of his insurance documents which he allegedly promised to send over but never did.
Furthermore, it is alleged, the victims’ architect also found the defendant to be unresponsive to multiple inquiries, and later learned from the defendant that he was not licensed as a general contractor.
Finally, it is alleged, by March 10, 2020, the defendant’s own project manager warned the victims not to give any more money to the defendant, noting that no work had been done on the job and the defendant remained unresponsive. The victims hired an attorney on March 13, 2020, who sent written notice canceling the contract and demanding the deposit be returned, but the defendant never responded. The case was later referred to the District Attorney’s office.
It is alleged that the defendant gave approximately $61,000 of the deposit to his mother on December 31, 2019, the day after he received it. Other funds were allegedly used for child support payments, as well as personal expenses including at bars, restaurants, hotels and liquor stores in New Jersey and the Bahamas.
The investigation began following a complaint to the District Attorney’s Action Center.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Daniel R. Tibbets of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Chief of Intake for the Frauds Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of Investigations.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt