The owner of a Massachusetts paving business is facing a long list of criminal charges, accused of taking customers' money and disappearing without completing the jobs.
The alleged pattern of theft could now land William Pusateri of Priority 1 Paving in prison.
Pusateri was the focus of our "To Catch a Contractor" investigation last year, which detailed allegations of financially steamrolling customers all over the Boston area.
Victims included the elderly, public servants, single parents, and a Natick homeowner with special needs. Many of the people had shared their stories with the NBC10 Boston Investigators.
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In Middlesex Superior Court on Tuesday, Pusateri was arraigned on a 23-count indictment, including stealing from people over age 60 and theft from a person with a disability.
Assistant District Attorney Mary O'Neill said even after homeowners started going to their local police departments, Pusateri's alleged behavior continued. In some cases, he showed up out of the blue at the properties of previous customers and secured deposits.
There are clusters of cases in Framingham and Dedham, with indictments also listing victims in Natick, Newton, Watertown, Braintree, Medford and Boston.
O'Neill said the current charges allege Pusateri has stolen over $60,000 from customers. However, she added that prosecutors are still hearing from more people, and it's possible additional charges could be coming down the road.
"This was not simply a matter of civil disputes," O'Neill said. "This was a repeated, ongoing course of conduct where he defrauded multitudes of people."
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As we previously reported, Pusateri was convicted of a similar scheme in Worcester County a decade ago and spent three years in prison.
The paving business owner has been locked up in Norfolk County Correctional Center since the first Dedham cases turned criminal in May of 2022. Those cases will now become part of the larger prosecution being handled by the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office.
Pusateri is being held on $25,000 bail. If he posts the money, a clerk magistrate set the conditions of around-the-clock GPS monitoring at a relative's home in Dedham and prohibited any contracting work.
Kate Merritt-O'Toole is a Framingham homeowner who first reached out to NBC10 Boston after seeing our "To Catch a Contractor" series. She said it was difficult to convince her local police department to pursue criminal charges after giving Pusateri $2,000 and then hearing a list of excuses about why her project couldn't be completed.
There is a state fund for consumers who have been ripped off by contractors. However, none of the alleged instances involving Pusateri would qualify because pavers don't have to be licensed or registered in Massachusetts.
"My hope is that we can convince our state legislators to require licensing for paving contractors, with stiff penalties, so when Mr. Pusateri is released yet again, the next group of victims will not have to fight as hard to stop and convict him," O'Toole said.