A Nassau County home improvement contractor was arraigned last week on charges accusing him of stealing nearly $250,000 from Queens homeowners.
Derrick Burrell, 47, of Rockville Centre was charged Wednesday night with two counts each of second- and third-degree larceny and one count of second-degree scheme to defraud, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Burrell, owner and general manager of D&E Properties Management & Services of Uniondale, LI, was charged in connection with allegations made by homeowners in Queens Village, Woodside, Hollis and Jamaica between 2009 and 2012.
Brown said the alleged victims paid between $9,600 and $103,000 for home improvement work that was never performed.
“In some cases, he allegedly left victims homeless,” Brown said in his statement.
Burrell faces up to 44 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He was released on $3,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 9.
Brown said that Burrell took $247,759 in payments from the homeowners, and that his company performed demolition work, but then failed to return to the work sites to perform the home improvement work.
He is alleged to have cashed the homeowners’ checks at various check-cashing outlets on Long Island and in New Jersey, when state law requires contractors to deposit such payments into a business bank account.
The district attorney said defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints received by his office.
He said consumers should always check a contractor’s references, and, while it did not apply in this particular case, a contractor’s licenses.
Brown said New York state requires that any payments received by a contractor prior to the substantial completion of a job must be placed in an escrow account in the state within five days, and that the customer must be told of the bank within 10 days.