Contractor of ill repute arrested for alleged rip-off in Stony Point
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe last week announced that Michael Scoca (DOB 01/18/65) of 222 Centre Avenue, Unit 6J, New Rochelle, New York has been charged with one count of grand larceny in the third degree, a class “D” felony.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “The victim in this case hired the defendant and paid him substantial amounts of money for materials and home improvement work that was never performed. To avoid being another victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and contact the proper agencies to ensure that he is licensed.”
Scoca, a licensed home improvement contractor who conducts his business under the corporate name of West End Contractors, LLC, is alleged to have stolen over $26,000 from a Stony Point homeowner with whom he had contracted to perform renovations, including a complete kitchen remodeling.
According to the charges, the victim contracted with Scoca in May, 2015 to replace the existing kitchen at a total cost of $26,500. The defendant demolished the kitchen, installed new sheetrock and applied paint, but failed to complete the construction. It is alleged that Scoca did not install nor provide the vast majority of building materials, including flooring, cabinets, countertops, appliances and related plumbing.
Scoca is accused of abandoning the project and failing to provide an accounting or return of the victim’s money. The arrest of the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and the Rockland County Department of Consumer Protection. Scoca’s name is included on the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection “Renegade Renovators” list.
Several persons from Westchester County have contacted the Rockland County Times and said Scoca had victimized them and had long been on lists of ill repute for contractors. Complainants said they were outraged the Westchester DA had not taken legal action against Scoca and praised Rockland County officials for taking the initiative. Rockland DA Zugibe has made it a habit to be more vigorous in the prosecution of allegedly delinquent contractors. In much of New York accusations of contractor fraud are by default left to the realm of civil litigation.
Scoca will be prosecuted for grand larceny through application of the New York State Lien Law, which mandates that, upon acceptance of funds in connection with a contract for improvement of real property or home improvement, those funds become a trust, which can be used only to pay for costs incurred in the performance of that homeowner’s project. The use of that money for any other purpose is a larceny under the Lien Law. Further, the contractor must maintain separate ledgers for each job for which he has contracted.
By failing to provide an accounting of how the money had been used and by not returning the money upon the demand of the consumer, the contractor is accused of violating both the Penal Law and the Lien Law.
The defendant was arraigned in the Town of Stony Point Justice Court and remanded to the Rockland County Jail because of two previous felonies. An internet search showed one of those felonies involved illegally low wages paid to employees in subversion of prevailing wage laws.