A South Glens Falls woman who was accused of defrauding $1 million from clients through her manufactured and modular home business, pleaded guilty on Monday.
She could get up to three to nine years in prison.
Sherrie A. Burton, 65, appeared in Saratoga County Court on Monday afternoon and pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree grand larceny and scheme to defraud, felonies. She is to receive a sentence of no less than six months in jail, but up to three to nine years in prison. Her final term will be decided upon by the judge at her sentencing.
The plea deal, prosecutors have said, will cover the fraud and larceny counts, as well as additional uncharged crimes that the Attorney General’s Office uncovered, which included money laundering and falsifying business records.
Burton will also have to pay restitution to the victims of the fraud.
If Burton had failed to take the deal, prosecutors said, she could have been charged in additional counties including Albany, Oneida, Warren and Washington.
Burton initially faced nine counts of theft and fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison.
Burton took deposits, down payments and full payments for houses through her businesses, Valued Manufactured Housing and Valued Homes, and used the money for personal expenses, the state Attorney General’s Office and state police, who investigated the case, alleged in February.
Prosecutors allege that between at least March 2015 and July 2018, Burton falsely told customers that they needed to make a substantial deposit in order for construction to begin on their homes.
In some cases, prosecutors say, she used this money for purchases at Zynga Games, Amazon.com and the Home Shopping Network; expenditures at Turning Stone Resort and Casino; payments for hotels, groceries, gas and alcohol; credit card payments and cash withdrawals.
In other cases, they said, she used new deposits to pay manufacturers for houses she’d promised to prior customers months earlier.
Burton will return to court on Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. for sentencing.