Media, PA- Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and Brookhaven Chief of Police Michael Vice announced charges today against two individuals in connection with a contracting scam targeting senior citizens. John Cassidy, 48, of Yonkers, New York, is in custody, and Thomas Kenny, 23, is still being sought. The defendants have been charged with violations of the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, as well as theft.
“We are announcing these charges today because we believe that there may be other victims in our community who have been taken in by these unscrupulous individuals,” said Chief Vice. He continued “If you or someone you know has had an experience similar to the ones outlined in today’s charges, we urge you to contact the Brookhaven Police Department at 610-876-6142. Speaking up will help us ensure that these individuals are unable to engage in these abusive practices.”
“As your District Attorney, I want the citizens of Delaware County to know that we take this type of crime very seriously. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent crimes such as these, which were clearly targeted at our older residents. I want to commend Chief Vice and Officer Ryan Eastman of the Brookhaven Police Department, as well as Sergeant Joseph Hackett of our Criminal Investigation Division, who have worked tirelessly to investigate these individuals,” said District Attorney Stollsteimer.
On the afternoon of Monday, September 20, 2021, Chief Vice responded to a call from a homeowner living in Brookhaven. The victim, an individual over the age of 60, reported that earlier that day she had been pressured by a driveway sealing company. She explained that a man with an Irish accent had pressured her into having him seal her driveway. Initially asking for $2,400, they agreed to a price of $1,200, with the payment to be made in cash. Upon completion of the work, the man, who was joined in the project by a younger man, demanded $1,400. Upon investigation by Chief Vice and Sergeant Hackett, it was determined that the pair had used a spray paint to cover the driveway, which is not an acceptable form of sealant. The victim later advised the Chief that a neighbor had also been pressured by a man with an Irish accent. Investigators learned that the second victim attempted to prevent the contractor from doing the work, telling the defendants that his driveway did not need sealing. Despite that, the defendants arrived at the victim’s home the next day, accompanied by several other individuals, and told the victim that they had purchased the supplies and that they were therefore going to complete the work. Payment in cash was also demanded. No receipt or signed contract was created in either case. The “sealant’ used by the defendants was the same black spray paint used on the neighbor’s home. Both victims positively identified the defendants.
Pennsylvania’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (“HICPA”) was enacted to protect consumers from the unfair trade practices and fraudulent activities of home improvement contractors. Along with other prohibitions, HICPA prohibits contractors from making false statements intended to induce a consumer to enter into an agreement or accept an increased price, and such conduct is deemed fraud under the Act. HICPA also mandates that for a home improvement contract worth more than $500 to be enforceable against an owner, it must be in writing and be signed by both parties.
John Cassidy, a citizen of Ireland, is in the country on an expired visa. His bail was set at $100,000, cash.
The District Attorney and the Criminal Investigations Division remind anyone in Delaware County who observes suspicious activity to call 911 immediately and provide the most specific and accurate details possible to assist law enforcement agencies investigating the call for service.
CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS AND UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.
Contact: Margie McAboy, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, 610-579-0429.