Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sibling Duo Faces Hate Crimes Charges In Home Repair Scam Targeting Elderly NYC Homeowners; Accused Of Threatening Liens On Homes To Squeeze Victims

From the Office of the District Attorney for Queens County, New York:
  • Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown [] announced that two Long Island brothers who are not licensed to operate a chimney contracting business in New York City have been charged under New York State’s Hate Crime Law with stealing more than $30,000 from three elderly Queens homeowners for chimney and roof work that was never done.

  • District Attorney Brown said, “This alleged crime is particularly egregious as the defendants are accused of targeting elderly homeowners. It is charged that once they managed to get their foot in the door, they used high pressure sales tactics to steal substantial amounts of additional monies from their victims by telling them that more and more work needed to be done and that if they didn’t pay, a lien would be placed on their properties and they would be forced to move. In two instances, it is alleged that the defendants drove their victims to the bank to collect the money.”

The District Attorney identified the two defendants as Bruce Wimmer, 29, of Holbrook, New York, and his brother Michael Cristiano, 32, of Patchogue, New York. The defendants, allegedly operated either under Reliable Chimney, Inc., a business incorporated by Wimmer and located in Holbrook or under a false name, American Chimney.

The complaining victims included a 94-year female homeowner, a 72-year-old male homeowner, and a 79-year-old female homeowner.

For the Queens County DA press release, see Two Long Island Brothers Charged Under Hate Crimes Statute For Targeting Elderly Homeowners In Chiminey Scam (Allegedly Fleeced Homeowners Out of Over $30,000 For Chimney Work That Was Never Done).