WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. -- A Wappingers Falls contractor pleaded guilty Friday to running a scheme of spending customers money on himself or for repaying debts, according to Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler.
Fortunato “Ken” Febus, 51, of Wappingers Falls, admitted that between May 8, 2012, and August 26, 2015, he engaged in an ongoing scheme to defraud a number of victims who hired him as a building contractor, Hoovler said.
Febus admitted that he accepted payment in connection with each of the jobs he was hired to perform, and then misappropriated the money by spending it on himself or re-paying debts not connected with those jobs.
The customers included a church in the Town of Wawayanda, homeowners in the City of Middletown, two different homeowners in the City of Newburgh, and homeowners and business owners in Sullivan and Dutchess counties, Hoovler said.
“This defendant has repeatedly defrauded homeowners and even a church,” said Hoovler. “Unscrupulous contractors give legitimate contractors an undeserved bad name. Hopefully, this case will deter other home improvement contractors who are tempted to defraud their customers. Those who pay others to make improvements on their most valuable asset deserve to be treated fairly. I look forward to continuing to work with our law enforcement partners in reducing contractor fraud.”
In addition to the fraud, Febus also admitted he did not file state Personal Income Tax returns for 2012, 2013 and 2014, and he failed to comply with a tax department subpoena, Hoovler added.
He also admitted possessing a forged check from a purported building supplier to defraud one of his victims and that he had failed to return to court in his first indictment.
Hoovler said his office will be recommending state prison sentences on all charges when he is sentenced in March.
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