Homebuilder gets probation for defrauding customers, contractors - The Buffalo News
print logo

Homebuilder gets probation for defrauding customers, contractors

Twenty victims of a former homebuilder have received some of the more than $344,000 he owed them when he went out of business.

On Friday, he was sentenced to five years’ probation in Erie County Court.

Kevin Michael Patrick Curry, 46, of Clarence, founder and former head of Patrick Homes and Patrick Development, has repaid or reached restitution agreements with 18 victims, and a 19th victim is going to sign off on a restitution agreement, prosecutors said.

Some victims got the full amount, while others agreed to accept less than the full amount in order to get the money upfront rather than wait for installment payments, according to prosecutors.

The 20th victim, Switala Construction, received a check Friday for $13,064 but it is still owed $76,900.

Judge Kenneth F. Case signed an order for Curry to pay Switala $250 a month for the next 10 years, subject to a possible increase in the rate after the first year.

The $344,140 that Curry owed was money that he was supposed to use to build homes, prosecutors said, but instead he illegally transferred the funds from his homebuilding business to prop up his failing commercial construction business during the recession.

The victims included 18 subcontractors and suppliers and two homeowners.

In placing Curry on probation, the judge cited his efforts at making his victims whole, after he pleaded guilty last fall to charges of scheming to defraud and grand larceny.

The judge said Curry’s transfer of funds in violation of the state’s lien law was not malicious but left his victims unpaid.

Curry’s attorney, Rodney O. Personius, thanked prosecutors and the victims for giving his client time to repay the money after he pleaded guilty last October.

The sentencing had been adjourned several times, allowing Curry to come up with the money to repay 19 victims and work on repaying Switala, according to Assistant District Attorney Gary M. Ertel.

Before he was sentenced, Curry told the judge that he was very sorry for the harm he caused the victims.

In pleading guilty, Curry, who now does real estate consulting, admitted that he violated the lien law between March 2010 through December 2012, when he improperly transferred money paid to him for building homes to his commercial construction business in order to sustain the failing operation.

Under the lien law, a general contractor who accepts money from someone to build a house is a “trustee” for that money, which should only be used for work and materials related to the purpose of the money.

Curry pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree scheming to defraud, one count of third-degree grand larceny and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

After the plea, Personius told The Buffalo News at the end of January that the money was used for business purposes. He said Curry also took out a second mortgage on his own home and spent his children’s college savings funds.

“This influx of money did not save the failing part of the business, and as a result, a number of contractors and suppliers for the residential construction were financially harmed,” Personius said. “Kevin shoulders full responsibility for what happened here. He doesn’t have any excuses and doesn’t make any.”

email: jstaas@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment