A contractor is facing four decades in prison after being charged for allegedly ripping off a family intending to move from the Bronx into Westchester of nearly $80,000.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. announced on Wednesday that “ renegade renovator ” Michael Scoca of New Rochelle was facing charges in Westchester for allegedly telling the family he would build them a home, and instead stealing their identities.
In late 2015, Scarpino said that Scoca, claiming to be a general contractor, convinced the family from the Bronx that he would build them their family home in Westchester. He allegedly convinced his victims to provide him with five separate credit cards to pay for materials and construction costs required to build the house.
According to Scarpino, instead of completing construction of the home, Scoca instead used his victims’ information and credit card numbers to pay for unrelated business and personal expenses.
Among the things Scoca allegedly used the stolen identities for include $3,000 in fees owed to a New Rochelle yacht club, a purchase exceeding $1,000 for precious metal coins and multiple other purchases totaling thousands of dollars from local retail stores and through Scoca’s personal PayPal account.
Scarpino said that in total, in less than two months, Scoca stole more than $79,000.
This isn’t the first time Scoca has been in trouble with the law. Last year, the “renegade renovator” was charged with multiple felonies after claiming to do work he was paid for and failed to perform in Rockland County.
Scoca was charged with three felony counts each of first-degree identity theft and third-degree grand larceny. He was arraigned in New Rochelle City Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
If found guilty, Scoca faces up to seven years in state prison for each offense charged. He is due back in court on Thursday, June 15.
“Anyone considering hiring a home contractor should check with the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection and the Better Business Bureau,” Scarpino cautioned. “If a consumer believes they have been defrauded by a contractor, they can file a complaint with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.”