EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 25, 2013

Police: Contractor defrauded customers for years

Charges include unfinished work, writing bad checks

GROVELAND — Police said a contractor managed to defraud customers, suppliers and others for years by using a variety of business aliases and at least 19 different addresses.

“He was changing names, which was part of the scam, so it was hard to track him down,” police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen said of James McCarthy, 52.

McCarthy faces a variety of charges, including writing bad checks, using a customer’s credit card without permission, taking payment from customers but not finishing the work, and not paying his workers or paying them with checks that bounced.

Police said McCarthy was using a home at 173 Seven Star Road owned by his girlfriend as the base of operations for his home improvement business for several years, and that he has a history with police in the town.

Police said they have been called to the home several times, including on one occasion when some of McCarthy’s former employees were on the property trying to collect wages due them. The workers told police that McCarthy constantly lied to them and that he failed to show up to pay them.

“Imagine working for him, doing a good job and not being paid?” Gillen said. “You have people who took out loans to have work on their home and he took their money and didn’t complete the work. He took advantage of people’s trust.”

When contacted by The Eagle-Tribune, McCarthy’s lawyer Scott Gleason of Haverhill said he had no comment.

Police said McCarthy’s local victims include Kazmiera Marina in Haverhill, where he has an unpaid balance of $2,661 for boat storage and repairs, and Doyle Lumber in Andover, to which he owes more than $40,000.

“Witnesses I interviewed said he came across as the nicest guy and was a smooth talker who would tell a story about his daughter having died,” police Detective James Morton said. “He preyed on citizens to get what he needed to get or do.”

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