A contractor who has repeatedly defied a state order baring him from the field and stealing thousands from homeowners in the process has been sentenced to up to nine years in state prison, state officials said.
Robert Decker, 60, of Fonda, was sentenced Thursday and Friday in Saratoga and Montgomery county courts to a total sentence of 3 to 9 years.
He was accused of defrauding homeowners around the region over more than 21⁄2 years by taking large deposits from homeowners and then failing to complete the work or do any at all. He then never returned the money.
He defrauded the homeowners while doing business under his company name, A+ Rated Contracting.
He did all that while already being permanently barred from the field a decade ago after similar schemes were uncovered, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
“This case sends a clear message that contractors who defraud unsuspecting homeowners by failing to complete work or performing shoddy work will be held accountable,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a news release.
The most recent allegations against Decker span April 2011 to December 2013. He represented himself as being both fully authorized and insured, soliciting and accepting home improvement jobs.
Decker admitted that in one case that he stole $5,000 from a Malta homeowner who had hired him to replace a roof. He did no work.
Other cases were worse, according to the Attorney General’s Office. He did demolition work, opening homes to the elements, then walked away.
Decker filed paperwork falsely claiming an exemption from workers compensation coverage and showed some homeowners forged certificates of liability insurance.
Still to be determined is how much restitution Decker will owe. That won’t be settled until a hearing in October. He could be required to repay as much as $375,000.
In 2005, he was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay $38,000 in restitution for similar schemes.
The sentence was for repeatedly violating a 2003 order that he not perform any contracting work without posting a bond of at least $100,000. He never filed such a bond.
Authorities said that one case involved an Amsterdam woman paying more than $13,000 and getting in return a condemned back porch, frozen pipes and water in her basement.