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Six members of Albany scam ring admit guilt, await sentencing

Six members of Albany scam ring admit guilt, await sentencing

All six accused members of an Albany County elder scam ring have now pleaded guilty, Albany County D

All six accused members of an Albany County elder scam ring have now pleaded guilty, Albany County District Attorney’s officials said Thursday.

The accused leader of the ring, Henry Hicks — convicted previously of scamming a victim in Schenectady — faces up to 9 to 18 years in state prison at his sentencing next month after pleading guilty in 2015.

Authorities have found 10 victims in all, according to the DA’s Office. The youngest victim was 66, the oldest 93. Prosecutors put the total amount taken at more than $40,000.

Authorities said the ring targeted the older homeowners in 2014 for thousands of dollars in unneeded or bogus repair work.

Prosecutors charged each under the state hate crime statute, making the charges more serious. State law allows for hate crimes to be charged if the victims were selected from one of 10 classes, ranging from race to sexual orientation and including age.

The final two defendants to plead guilty did so this month.

Susan Barr, 58, pleaded guilty Thursday to fifth-degree conspiracy as a hate crime, a felony. She is to get up to 2 to 4 years in state prison.

Barr’s son, Brian Barr, 37, of Schenectady, pleaded guilty Feb. 3 to two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime and the conspiracy count. He is to receive 71⁄2 to 15 years.

Jessica Paradiso, 27, of Schenectady, pleaded guilty in January to attempted grand larceny and conspiracy, both as hate crimes. She faces up to 6 to 12 years in prison.

John Risto, 60, address unavailable, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy as a hate crime and is to get 11⁄3 to 4 years in prison.

John Waterson, 37, of Albany, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and conspiracy. He is to receive 31⁄2 to 7 years in prison.

Hicks, 58, of Albany, pleaded guilty to multiple charges as hate crimes.

Hicks’ involvement in the conspiracy started Aug. 17, 2014 — three weeks after he was released from prison on a previous elder scam conviction. In that case, Hicks victimized a 92-year-old Schenectady man on Jan. 6, 2011.

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