For Immediate Release - January 29, 2010

Home Improvement Contractor Convicted of Violating Home Improvement Contractor Law

SALEM - Today, an Essex Superior Court judge found a North Andover man guilty of failing to construct sunrooms for over 20 homes that were ordered through his company. Superior Court Judge Maureen Hogan found James Brien, age 60 , guilty of violating the Home Improvement Contractor Statute (22 counts). He is scheduled to be sentenced March 5, 2010, in Essex Superior Court.

In February 2004, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the office received complaints from consumers claiming that Brien and his company, the now-defunct American Sunroom Co. Inc. (American Sunroom), failed to install sunrooms for their homes in accordance with contracts signed with the company. Brien was hired to perform residential contracting services for 22 customers and failed to do so. Investigators discovered that in many instances Brien started the construction process for the sunrooms, but never finished the projects, accepting over a total of $450,000 from his customers in the process.

An Essex County Grand Jury returned indictments against Brien on June 21, 2006. He was arraigned in Essex Superior Court on July 6, 2006, where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Brien's jury-waived trial began on January 11, 2010, and continued for nine days. Today, Judge Hogan found Brien guilty of violating the state's home contractor law. Judge Hogan found Brien not guilty of a single count of larceny. After delivering her verdict, Judge Hogan revoked the defendant's bail pending sentencing. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 5, 2010.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General David Andrews and Margret Cooke, both of Attorney General Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division (IUFD), and was investigated by Sallyann Nelligan of the IUFD and Paul Stewart, Director of Attorney General Coakley's Financial Investigations Division and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office.