Worst Boston Contractors of 2009
New Dimensions Construction | Taunton, Mass.
New Dimensions Construction owner Dennis Bartel pleaded guilty to six counts of larceny in February in Plymouth County Superior Court for defrauding area homeowners of more than $140,000.
He was sentenced to six years probation, with more than two years suspended.
It was the Taunton remodeling contractor's second conviction; he was convicted on seven similar charges in 2007 in Bristol County for accepting large deposits for remodeling projects but never completing the work.
In both counties, Bartel faced 22 charges of larceny in all, according to Massachusetts State Police Lt. Stephen O'Reilly.
At press time, Bartel remained incarcerated in Bristol County on a 5 1/2-year sentence from his first conviction. Bartel has made Angie's List Magazine's Worst Boston Contractors list two years in a row.
His 2005 Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing also remains ongoing as creditors try to prevent the discharge of his debts.
Needham resident David Grebber, whose criminal complaint helped Bristol County prosecutors convict Bartel in 2007, says he paid him $85,000 for a room addition.
"I basically paid him the full amount and he bailed, leaving me with half a house," says Grebber.
Bartel's attorney, Michael Vitali, didn't respond to interview requests.
Joseph T. Duggan III | Shrewsbury, Mass.
"He promised me everything and gave me nothing," says Worcester homeowner Warren Keith of convicted contractor Joseph T. Duggan III.
Keith hired Duggan to build a garage addition and paid him $18,000. He says he received a partial foundation in return.
A judge convicted Duggan of larceny in September and sentenced him to a four-month jail term after Duggan hastily arranged for a friend to repay Keith the $18,000.
At press time, he was serving the sentence in the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction.
"I'm happy I got my money back, but I think (the sentence) should have been harsher," Keith says.
Duggan's attorney, Matthew Pingeton, says his client "always intended to do the job."
Duggan also was convicted of larceny in 2006 based on a complaint filed by Holden homeowner Patrick Barry, who says he paid Duggan $50,000 for a second-story home addition that was never completed.
"He left my house half destroyed - it looked like a missile hit it," Barry says. "It was all shoddy work."
Duggan's construction supervisor's license was revoked in 2005 due to numerous homeowner complaints about shoddy and incomplete work.
In 2007, the state fined Duggan more than $36,000 for unlicensed work and improper asbestos removal practices. The fine has more than tripled due to nonpayment, state officials say.
Oasis Travel | Chelsea, Mass.
Many customers who booked overseas trips months in advance through Oasis Travel received a surprise when they arrived at the airport.
Authorities say the company and its owner, Claudia Quintanilla, allegedly took customers' full payments for travel but never purchased the fares, leaving many stunned and ticketless just prior to their planned departures in 2008.
In November 2008, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office charged Quintanilla with larceny and credit card fraud. She later turned herself in and was released on bond.
According to DA spokeswoman Erika Gully-Santiago, Quintanilla's indictment includes 50 counts based on 47 former customers whose claims total at least $35,000. At press time, she had not entered a plea.
"We allege they were engaged in deceptive practices that resulted in a lot of people losing money they couldn't afford to," says attorney Nadine Cohen, who filed a civil suit seeking restitution for more than 20 victims.
At press time, Quintanilla was scheduled for a Dec. 10 criminal pretrial hearing. Her attorney, Lucas Talarico, could not be reached.
— reporting by Joshua Palmer