For Immediate Release - July 12, 2011

Middleboro Couple Arraigned in Connection with Stealing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars From Homeowners

FALL RIVER - An unlicensed home improvement contractor and his wife have been charged in connection with allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from multiple homeowners, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

Arthur Amaral, age 51 , of Middleboro, was arraigned on charges of Larceny by False Pretenses Over $250 (12 counts), Operating as an Unlicensed Home Improvement Contractor (2 counts), Failure to Pay for Materials after Receiving Sufficient Funds for Them (4 counts), and Material Misrepresentation to Procure a Contract (1 count). Amaral's wife and business partner, Laurajo Amaral, 43, also of Middleboro, was arraigned on the charge of Larceny by False Pretenses Over $250 (2 counts).

The charges stem from complaints from five homeowners, two of whom hired the Amarals to help rebuild their fire damaged homes. According to authorities, in February 2008, a pair of homeowners enlisted Arthur and Laurajo Amaral to help rebuild their homes. Authorities allege that the Amarals requested payments from the homeowners for interior items such as appliances, flooring, and cabinets. According to authorities, although those checks were cashed, the money was never used toward those items despite the Amarals insisting the orders had been placed.

Additionally, authorities allege that in the spring of 2008, Arthur Amaral misrepresented himself as a licensed and insured home improvement contractor to obtain a contract with a homeowner who otherwise would not have hired Arthur Amaral if he knew he was not licensed. Authorities allege that Arthur Amaral also requested and received a payment for cabinets from this homeowner, but never ordered or delivered the cabinets. In three other cases, authorities allege that Arthur Amaral signed up for home improvement jobs, collected money for the jobs, and then never had further contact with the homeowners.

Authorities allege that the defendants stole more than $180,000 as a result of this scheme.

A Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against Arthur and Laurajo Amaral on June 24, 2011. Arthur and Laurajo Amaral were arraigned today in Bristol Superior Court at which time the defendants entered individual pleas of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Arthur and Laurajo Amaral are due back in court on September 12, for a pre-trial conference. Judge Francis McIntyre presided over today's arraignment.

For information and tips on choosing home improvement contractors, please visit the Attorney General's website.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force with assistance from Investigators Jennifer Chaves and Jack D'Isidoro, and Victim Witness Advocate Shannon Legrice.