ALBANY — A Saratoga Springs man has pleaded guilty to defrauding multiple victims in a $1 million scheme run through two construction companies he owned, the state Attorney General’s Office and state police announced Tuesday.
Shawn M. VanVeghten, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count each of second-degree money laundering and first-degree scheme to defraud, felonies.
He admitted that from at least July 2016 to May 2020 he schemed to defraud homebuyers and others and laundered money embezzled from his victims.
He was arrested in September on a series of felony and misdemeanor charges and arraigned on an indictment earlier this month.
The joint state police-attorney general investigation showed VanVeghten laundered the money in a scheme aimed at promoting his businesses at the expense of homebuyers, business owners, a financial lender and the beneficiary of a special needs trust.
He was accused of laundering over $1 million through the two construction companies he owned or operated, VanVeghten Construction and Union Modular Homes, both based in Wilton, officials said.
VanVeighten received the money from homebuyers that were intending to build their dream homes, as well as from a lender. But he instead diverted the money for personal use, as well as to pay off business expenses, officials said.
He got subcontractors and suppliers to perform labor and supply materials, but failed to pay them. He also misappropriated $200,000 from a special needs trust established to benefit a disabled family member, officials said.
In all, he diverted more than $400,000 for his own personal use, including to purchase and renovate investment property in Schenectady County, pay for office space in Wilton, pay down his personal mortgage and cover various other personal expenses, officials said.
VanVeghten is to be sentenced in April to up to 3 to 9 years in state prison, with restitution ordered for his victims. His final sentence will depend on several factors, including how much restitution he’s made.
“For years, his victims scraped and saved to afford their dream homes, but VanVeghten’s crimes left them locked out,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release. “This conviction should send a clear message that my office will not hesitate to fight for New Yorkers as we protect their wallets at every turn.”
Any individual who may have been defrauded by VanVeghten and who has yet to be repaid in full can contact the state police’s Financial Crimes Unit at [email protected].