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Rockville Centre man pleads guilty to renovation scam, DA says

A Rockville Centre man is facing 1½ to 4½ years in prison after pleading guilty to bilking 11 homeowners in a home-renovation scam dating to 2009, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced Tuesday.

Derrick Burrell, 49, of St. Marks Avenue, entered the plea Tuesday, admitting to two counts of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of first-degree scheme to defraud before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron.

Sentencing on the charges is scheduled for July 20, authorities said Wednesday.

Burrell’s attorney of record, Jason Russo, said of the plea: “Mr. Burrell just wanted to accept responsibility and make sure everyone was made whole.” Russo said that although there were no specific restitution amounts cited as part of the plea, he said arrangements had been made for contracted work to be completed or for compensation to be made to victims.

According to the complaint against Burrell, the Rockville Centre man “entered into contract with nearly a dozen Queens and Long Island residents” to do demolition, renovation and/or construction on their properties between February 2009 and July 2015, accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in payment — but never completed any of the agreed-upon jobs, Brown said. In some cases, Brown said, the work wasn’t even started.

In some of the instances, Brown said, Burrell solicited jobs under the name James Gray and in some cases as A Team Property Services. In one instance, Brown said in May, Burrell took more than $11,000 from a woman, 74, who was looking to have her kitchen demolished and rebuilt to be wheelchair accessible. After demolition, however, no other work was done.

“The defendant has pleaded guilty to having defrauded homeowners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by taking money for construction and renovation work and leaving behind a trail of unfinished renovation projects,” Brown said in a statement, adding: “Consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor . . . To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and actually check a contractor’s references and check with the proper agencies to ensure the person they are hiring is indeed licensed.”


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