Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced his office has brought criminal contempt proceedings against Scott Romero, who has perpetrated scams involving snow removal services. Romero, the target of a 2011 lawsuit by Schneiderman for defrauding customers in the Buffalo area, is accused of violating a court order that was obtained against him and scamming additional consumers, this time in the greater Rochester area. The contempt of court charges were filed in in Erie County Supreme Court and will be heard by Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto.
"Many Western New Yorkers depend on snow removal contractors to allow them to drive to work and to keep their families safe," Schneiderman said. "Those who defraud consumers, especially repeat offenders, will be met with aggressive legal action to hold them accountable."
Romero was accused in 2011 of accepting advance payments for snow removal services and then failing to provide the services to consumers. A court order obtained by Schneiderman's office required Romero to pay $50,000 in restitution to victims and to put up a $150,000 bond before he could accept any advance payments from consumers. Schneiderman's office is alleging Romero failed to put up a $150,000 bond, and scammed at least 33 additional customers via the very same scheme of accepting advance payment and then failing to provide snow removal services.
Schneiderman's office is seeking 30 days in jail for Romero for each of the 33 additional customers he is accused of defrauding since the previous judgment. Romero faces a total of over two-and-a-half years in jail for criminal and the payment of additional restitution.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General James M. Morrissey in the Buffalo regional office, Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Bruce in the Rochester regional office, and Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Emily Brightman in the Rochester regional office. The Buffalo regional office is led by Michael Russo and the Rochester regional office is led by Debra Martin. The division of regional offices is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.