Charges filed in home repairs fraud

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BRATTLEBORO — A Vernon businessman stands accused of three counts of home improvement fraud for taking money from local homeowners but not actually doing the work.

According to affidavits filed in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, and Windsor Superior Court, Criminal Division, Joseph R. Castricone, 52, the owner of Vermont Vinyl in West Brattleboro, took money from homeowners in Dover, Townshend and Springfield but never followed through on the jobs.

One homeowner, an 84-year-old man in Townshend, paid Castricone $2,240 in the summer of 2018 to secure a skirt to his mobile home and to winterize it.

The man's son-in-law "attempted on several occasions to speak with Castricone and learned that he was delayed with other projects which was causing the delay," wrote Vermont State Trooper Max Trenofsky in an affidavit filed in Windham Superior Court on Dec. 13, 2018. The son-in-law "quickly learned that this was fraudulent as a result of Castricone not returning his phone calls."

The Reformer discovered four numbers for Vermont Vinyl in West Brattleboro and Joseph and Lorena Castricone in Vernon. One toll-free number connected the Reformer to a company selling medical monitoring devices. The local number for Vermont Vinyl resulted in a busy signal. Personal phone numbers for the Castricones were discontinued.

Trenofsky traveled to Castricone's home in Vernon, where Castricone said he wanted to complete the project but got behind. When Trenofsky said the Townshend man wanted a refund, Castricone said Trenofsky could pick up a refund check on Nov. 19.

"I attempted to do this but no check was left for me," wrote the state trooper. "I have left Castricone detailed messages about his violation and explained that a warrant for his arrest would be sought due to his lack of response ..."

On May 6, Officer William Manch with the Dover Police Department received a report from a local property owner that on Sept. 25, 2018, he had given Castricone $5,750, a 50 percent deposit on new windows, but Castricone never followed through on that job either.

The Dover complainant made several calls to follow up on the work and learned by calling the Harvey Window Company on Dec. 13, 2018, that Castricone had not even ordered the windows.

In late December, the man received a phone call from Lorena Castricone, who stated "they were slowed down because of medical issues and weather" and that they would be able to install the windows in late January. However, after several attempts at contacting Vermont Vinyl in February, the only response the Dover complainant received was that the Castricones were having "some major family issues" and all projects had been pushed to the spring.

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In late February, the Dover complainant heard from Castricone, who told him the windows were "never actually ordered" and that he would put in a "rush order" to get the windows delivered directly to the Dover residence.

The windows never arrived, despite a number of promises made by Castricone in April 2019.

The Dover complainant asked for a refund but has not received a response from Castricone, wrote Manch.

On May 10, Castricone was taken into custody on two arrest warrants for home improvement fraud. He was arraigned in Windham Superior Court on June 4 and released on bail.

In Windsor County, Castricone stands accused of accepting $1,020, a 50 percent deposit for the installation of seamless gutters on a home in Springfield, and not providing the work.

The contract with Vermont Vinyl was signed in April 2018 and the gutters were to be installed a month or so later.

"Through the summer and fall [the homeowner] had several contacts with Castricone, however the job was never started ... nor has he been refunded his deposit as requested," wrote Springfield Police Officer Anthony Leonard in an affidavit filed in Windsor Superior Court.

Leonard noted that the Springfield homeowner was also told by Castricone that he had "family health issues." Later, Castricone told the homeowner he was having "employee issues," wrote Leonard. In November, Castricone promised to send a refund check to the homeowner, which was never received, according to the affidavit.

A detective traveled to Vernon to speak with Castricone on March 15.

"He acknowledges that he was supposed to do work for [the homeowner], but claims that he was unable to get the material to do the job," wrote Leonard.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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