For Immediate Release - September 13, 2013

Taunton Man Sentenced to Jail, Must Pay Restitution for Stealing Tens of Thousands of Dollars From Multiple Homeowners

Ordered to Pay More Than $132,000 in Restitution to Victims

FALL RIVER — An unlicensed home improvement contractor has been sentenced to serve one year in jail in connection with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from multiple homeowners, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today. He was also ordered to pay more than $132,000 in restitution to the victims.

“This defendant, with the help of his wife, misled and deceived multiple homeowners through several different schemes, stealing tens of thousands of dollars.” AG Coakley said. “He has for years engaged in schemes to defraud innocent homeowners and through this sentence he will serve time in jail and pay restitution to the victims.”

On Thursday, in Bristol Superior Court, Judge D. Lloyd Macdonald sentenced Arthur J. Amaral, Jr., age 53, of Taunton, to one year in the House of Correction with five years of probation upon completion of his sentence. Judge Macdonald also ordered Amaral to pay more than $132,000 in restitution to the victims.

Judge Macdonald sentenced his wife and business partner, Laurajo Amaral, 46, also of Taunton, to two years of probation.

Judge Macdonald also ordered that the defendants not solicit or perform any work that involves construction, demolition, asbestos removal, or building in any way while they are on probation.

On July 23, Arthur Amaral pleaded guilty to charges of Larceny by False Pretenses Over $250 (10 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). Laurajo Amaral pleaded guilty to Larceny by False Pretenses Over $250 (1 count).

The charges stemmed from complaints from four 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. The Amarals requested payments from the homeowners for interior items such as appliances, flooring, and cabinets. Although those checks were cashed, the money was never used toward those items despite the Amarals insisting the orders had been placed.

Additionally, 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 Amaral was not licensed. Arthur Amaral also requested and received a payment for cabinets from this homeowner, but never ordered or delivered the cabinets. In two other cases involving property owners in their seventies, Arthur Amaral signed up for home improvement jobs, collected money for the jobs, and then never had further contact with the property owners.

Authorities allege that the couple stole tens of thousands of dollars as a result of this scheme. According to investigators, the defendants have a pattern stretching back almost 20 years of starting a real estate and construction company, bankrupting the company or putting it out of business, and then starting a new company for the same purpose, but never registering the company or themselves as home improvement contractors. 

A Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against the Amarals in June 2011. They were arraigned in July 2011 in Bristol Superior Court and pleaded guilty on July 23, 2013. They were both sentenced on Thursday in Bristol Superior Court.

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

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force and Assistant Attorney General Jeanne Veenstra, from the AG’s Southeastern Massachusetts Office, with assistance from Investigators Bryan Freitas and Jack D’Isidoro, and Victim Witness Advocates Shannon Legrice and Amber Foley.

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