For Immediate Release - June 21, 2012

Bathroom Remodeling Salesman Sentenced to State Prison in Connection with Stealing Thousands of Dollars from Homeowners

Scheme Perpetrated in Multiple Communities Around Metro Boston

BOSTON — A former bathroom remodeling salesman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in state prison in connection with defrauding multiple homeowners of thousands of dollars, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today. 

Joel Salvatore, 42, of Stoneham, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Norfolk Superior Court to charges of Larceny Over $250 (1 count), and Larceny Over $250 of a Person Over 60 Years Old (3 counts).  After the plea was entered, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman sentenced Salvatore to two years and one day in state prison, with six years of probation to serve concurrent with that sentence.

Judge Fishman imposed a condition prohibiting Salvatore from having contact with the victims of the scheme. The judge also ordered that Salvatore be required to take vocational training while incarcerated in a field that he can seek and maintain employment in upon release, and barred him from self-employment or promotional or sales work.

“This defendant used his position to manipulate and steal from consumers, including seniors, by soliciting for services he did not provide,” AG Coakley said. “He is being held accountable for this fraud that harmed consumers and undermined trust in our communities.”

According to authorities, Salvatore worked as a salesperson for Bay State Re-Bath (Re-Bath), a bathroom remodeling company, from February 2011 until his termination in June 2011.  As a salesperson, Salvatore met with potential customers in their homes, examined their bathrooms, and gave sales presentations about Re-Bath’s remodeling products and services. He also prepared contracts for proposed projects on approved company letterhead.

In a scheme to defraud homeowners beginning in April 2011, Salvatore solicited consumers by offering the company’s remodeling services at a cut rate. Based on his proposal, Salvatore would draft a generic contractor’s invoice and request a down payment for services to be rendered at a later date. 

As a result of this scheme, Salvatore collected payments ranging from $1,700 to $3,000 without ever beginning renovations despite repeated attempts by customers to contact him. Salvatore victimized customers in Wakefield, Medford, Needham, and Walpole.     

In addition to working for Re-Bath, Salvatore previously operated a Luxury Bath Systems franchise in Massachusetts that also performed bathroom remodeling. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, Salvatore is also connected with the following businesses registered in Massachusetts:  JS & Company of Salem, NH; Home Improvements of New England, Inc., in Stoneham, Mass., and Salvatore, Inc., in Quincy, Mass. 

The Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police urge any individuals who feel that they have been the victim of a larceny to contact the Attorney General’s complaint line at 617-963-2223.  For information and consumer tips on choosing home improvement contractors, please visit the Attorney General’s website.

Middlesex and Norfolk County Grand Juries returned indictments against Salvatore on December 20 and December 21, 2011, respectively. Salvatore was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on January 9, 2012 and was arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham on January 17. In April, the Middlesex indictment was consolidated with the indictment in Norfolk County. In Norfolk Superior Court on Tuesday, Salvatore pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General William R. Freeman and Kate Billman-Golemme of AG Coakley’s Fraud and Financial Crimes Division with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.

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