Contractor Sentenced to More than Seven Years in Prison for
Weapons Possession, Tax Fraud and Defrauding Homeowners
Tax and Weapons Charges Arose from Investigation into Contractor Fraud
Goshen, NY – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on July 16, 2018, that Daniel McInerney, 48, of Blooming Grove, was sentenced by Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to a total of more than seven years in state prison for weapons possession, felony tax evasion, and defrauding customers of his home improvement contracting business. On August 18, 2016, McInerney had pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, for having illegally possessed two handguns. On that same date he had also pleaded guilty to Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, for failing to report and remit New York State personal income taxes, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, for having defrauded customers on home improvement contracts.
The Town of Blooming Grove Police Department had received numerous complaints that McInerney had accepted payment in connection with multiple home improvement projects, and failed to substantially complete the jobs or deliver materials that were to be purchased for the projects, in violation of New York State’s Lien Law. Further investigation revealed that McInerney had failed to pay his personal income taxes for 2010 in an amount in excess of $3,000, and for 2013 in an amount in excess of $1,500. In furtherance of the Lien Law investigation, a search warrant was executed at McInerney’s home by the Town of Blooming Grove Police Department, assisted by investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The search resulted in the seizure of multiple loaded firearms, ammunition, as well as a business records. McInerney was arrested by the Town of Blooming Grove Police Department.
McInerney was sentenced to five years in state prison and five years post- release supervision with respect to his plea to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, and two and one-third to seven years in state prison in connection with his plea of guilty to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. The Judge ordered those sentences to run concurrently. McInerney was sentenced to one and one-third to four years in state prison for having committed the crime of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and an additional one to three years in state prison for having committed the crime of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree. Those sentences were ordered to run consecutively to each other, and to the sentences he received on the weapons possession charges. In total, McInereny was sentenced to seven and one-third to fourteen years in state prison.
McInerney was one of four building contractors charged with felonies for defrauding property owners on contracts to improve real property in an enforcement action entitled “Operation Claw Hammer,” which was designed to prosecute felony violations of New York State’s Lien Law.
New York State’s Lien Law provides that when a contractor receives money on a contract to improve real property, such as a house, the contractor holds that money “in trust” for the benefit of those who provide labor on the job, any subcontractors, those who supply the building materials, and, in the case of an improvement to a private residence, the home owner. If the contractor does not work on the project, does not properly pay the money he received to those who worked on the project or supplied materials, and does not return the money to the home owner, he is deemed under the law to have stolen the money. The Lien Law also provides that a contractor who receives money to improve a home owner’s residence may not use that money on other jobs.
McInerney is next scheduled to appear in Court on August 16, 2018, for a conference concerning restitution for his victims.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Town of Blooming Grove Police Department and the New York State Department of Taxation’s Criminal Investigation Division for their work on the case.
The cases were being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek and Assistant District Attorney Tanja Beemer.
“It is important that home owners know their rights when dealing with home improvement contractors,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Unscrupulous contractors give legitimate contractors an undeserved bad name. I look forward to working with our law enforcement partners in reducing contractor fraud. This defendant not only defrauded his own customers, but defrauded and endangered all New Yorkers by evading his taxes and illegally possessing weapons.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.