Webster Plumber Found Guilty on Larceny Charges
Defendant Faces Illegal Asbestos Removal and Disposal Charges, Child Endangerment Charges
WORCESTER — A Webster plumbing and heating contractor has been found guilty in connection to larcenous conduct for work performed in the Worcester County area, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
After a seven-day bench trial in Worcester Superior Court, Daniel Watterson, 43, was found guilty on Wednesday by Judge Richard T. Tucker on the charges of Larceny over $250 of a Victim over Sixty Years of Age and Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses. Sentencing will be held at a later date. Additional charges are pending.
“The defendant exploited his position as licensed plumber and oil burner technician to steal from vulnerable consumers by fraudulently billing them and charging them without their consent, leaving them with an undue financial burden,” AG Coakley said.
Watterson, a plumbing and heating contractor operated in the Worcester County area under the business names “The Clog Specialist,” “Dan the Clog Man,” “Dan the Heating Man,” and “DW Plumbing & Heating.”
Watterson took advantage of customers by overbilling them for deficient plumbing and heating services. According to authorities, Watterson would overcharge customers, sometimes claiming the bill was a flat rate for the job, and also charged a customer’s credit card without consent.
A Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against Watterson on December 17, 2010. Watterson was arraigned on January 19, 2011 in Worcester Superior Court where he pleaded not guilty to charges of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act for Failure to File Notices of Asbestos Removal with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Improper Removal of Asbestos-Containing Material, and Improper Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Materials, Child Endangerment (2 counts), Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses (3 counts), Larceny over $250 of a Victim over Sixty Years of Age, Larceny under $250 of a Victim over Sixty Years of Age, and Larceny over $250. He was released on personal recognizance. Watterson was found guilty on Wednesday on the charges of Larceny over $250 and Larceny over $250 by False Pretenses. He is due back in court on September 10 for a status conference on the remaining charges.
These charges stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, and MassDEP Commissioner Kimmell. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state’s water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Rainer and Michael Pine with assistance from Ashley Cinelli of the Victim Witness Services Division. ECSF officials involved in this investigation included Environmental Police Officers and MassDEP officials Don Heeley and Gregg Levin.