In Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, PennLive.com
- A contractor convicted of committing serial frauds across the midstate that targeted senior citizens was slapped with a 4- to 8-year prison sentence by a Dauphin County judge [earlier this month].
Judge John F. Cherry hit 59-year-old Robert A. Kolovich with that penalty despite the Northumberland County man's claims of innocence.
A county jury convicted Kolovich of theft by deception charges last month for bilking two local families out of nearly $25,000 for work he never performed. Kolovich has convictions for similar frauds in Mifflin, Bedford and Snyder counties as well.
"None of these people got their work done. None of them got their money back," Cherry said. "It was quite a crime spree."
Senior Deputy District Attorney David Wilson called two Dauphin County residents who were conned by Kolovich to address the judge. One of them, Richard Verbeken, called the crime "devastating."
"I felt anger. I felt ashamed," Verbeken told the judge.
"How much did he take from you?" Cherry asked.
It was $22,000, Verbeken replied.
"There is no shame in that," the judge said.
Public Defender Elizabeth Ruby said Kolovich intended to do the work he was hired to do, but his business failed. "He does intend to pay the victims back," she said.
"I do feel for my customers of my failed business," Kolovich told Cherry. "I'm a good guy who always feels for people." He said the victims all would have been paid if he hadn't been arrested in the other counties. He said he's spent 30 months in prison so far.
Cherry ordered Kolovich to serve his new sentence consecutively to the prison terms previously imposed on him.
"Somehow he managed to rip off half the people in the midstate. It was really astounding," Wilson said after sheriff's deputies led Kolovich away. "All of my witnesses said they trusted him because he looked like Captain Kangaroo."
For those too young to remember, Captain Kangaroo, a.k.a Bob Keeshan, was the jovial, mop-haired and uniformed host of a children's TV show that ran from the mid-1950s to the mid-80s.