A local builder who admitted in June to illegally diverting funds from a building project saw his sentencing delayed Friday as the judge gave him one more chance to come up with more restitution.
The prosecutor and the judge noted prior pledges from the builder to come up with the money — at least half of the more than $81,000 owed — had come to naught.
“I’m not optimistic,” acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino said, “but I think I owe it to the victims to give it one more opportunity to get them some money.”
David White, 54, pleaded guilty in June to one count of third-degree grand larceny as part of a plea deal under which he could be sentenced to as much as two to six years in state prison or as little as five years of probation.
His final sentence will be determined at sentencing, which is now scheduled for Dec. 2. It is to be based on how much of the more than $81,000 he owes the homeowners and subcontractors is repaid by that time, attorneys have said.
The charges stemmed from a house Mary and Stephen Lolik hired White to build for them on Snake Hill Road in Glenville in 2008.
White was accused of illegally diverting the Loliks’ money from their project to other projects of his.
The original contract was for $278,000, but the cost increased to $317,000 and then inexplicably increased to $393,000, prosecutor Peter Willis told the jury in openings at trial. White pleaded guilty mid-trial.
The Loliks stopped paying at $317,000, Willis said, because they were given no accounting of where the money went. In the meantime, White failed to pay subcontractors for an estimated $70,000 in work.
Mary Lolik is expected to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing. White’s attorney, Mark Mishler, objected to that, arguing she wasn’t named as a victim in the charge White pleaded guilty to.
Giardino, however, noted other latitude White had been given and denied the request, allowing Lolik to speak in December.
Mishler asked for and was granted the delay, arguing his client would be able to come up with more money by then. Statements at Friday’s proceedings suggested White had produced less than $5,000 of the $40,000 hoped for by sentencing.
Willis, though, opposed the delay, arguing that White had made similar promises dating back to the beginning of the project, but he’s never come through.
“I don’t necessarily see anything that would indicate the defendant would have any more access to funds or would be any more willing to make restitution than he has for the last three years,” Willis said.
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