BROCKTON – A South Shore contractor who ran a scheme to defraud dozens of homeowners out of many thousands of dollars has pleaded guilty to larceny and other charges, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has announced.
Late Monday, Matthew R. Will, of Pembroke, pleaded guilty to one count each of Larceny of Property Over $1,200 by Single Scheme, State Building Code Violation and Money Laundering. Will additionally pleaded guilty to seven counts of Home Improvement Contracting Violations and three counts each of Forgery and Uttering. Brockton Superior Judge Mark A. Hallal sentenced Will to serve 2-3 years in State prison with three years of probation from and after. Once released on probation, Will must adhere to the court ordered conditions that he stay away and have no contact with the victims of the case, surrender his contractor’s license, submit to a substance abuse evaluation, cooperate with victims of the case seeking restitution through the state fund and remove the roofing company’s website from the internet.
In July 2018, a Middleboro Police investigation began when at least 15 individuals reported that Will had defrauded them out of funds ranging from $800 to $12,000. The extensive grand jury investigation revealed a substantial criminal enterprise involving multiple victims that extends across the entire state. In total, the investigation found that approximately 39 victims, ranging in age from 50 years-old up to 94, were defrauded in the towns of Middleboro, Kingston, Duxbury, Brockton, Plympton, Wareham, North Easton, Hanson, Falmouth, and Pembroke. The approximate total amount that Will defrauded customers of is in excess of $250,000.
On March 2 and 3, 2018, a severe Nor’easter storm struck the New England region, with heavy rains that caused extensive power outages as a result of downed trees. Many homes within Oak Point, a large retirement community in Middleboro for people aged 55 and over, were left badly damaged from the storm. Will, doing business as 5-Star Discount Roofing, offered his services to homeowners to repair their roofs. Will took payments and never returned to start any work. Homeowners often found themselves unable to get a hold of Matthew Will who ignored concerned texts and calls from customers.
In late July, 2018, Hanson Police Department received a complaint from a couple who reported that Will had defrauded them when they hired him to replace damaged shingles on their newly purchased home. In August 2018, Kingston Police were contacted by a couple who also reported that Will had defrauded them after providing him with a down payment for his roofing services. In November 2018, Wareham Police also received a report from a customer who reported that Will had defrauded him after accepting payment to repair his roof in East Bridgewater.
Will held a Construction Supervisor’s License from the state and was operating his business as 5-Star Discount Roofing out of a Halifax address.
Will engaged in a pattern of criminal conduct or scheme while operating as a contractor through 5-Star Discount Roofing.
The investigation further found that Will made false statements about the length of time to complete projects to induce customers to employ him, that he received funds from customers’ jobs but then did not pay his employees, vendors or for equipment.
Will forged and uttered the signatures of customers on contracts submitted to obtain building permits and used false names to obtain jobs with customers.
Will continued to remain in business well after these initial reports were made to police, falsely telling customers in Pembroke, Hanson, and Falmouth that the name of his company was “Matthew Ryan Roofing.: The customers, unaware of the allegations against Will, hired him to repair their roofs and were unable to reach him after he failed to start any work.
“Mr. Will promised necessary home improvements to these victims, many of whom were elderly, and event went to so far as to use conditions of a Nor’Easter storm to his advantage,” DA Cruz said. “Though his schemes and scams he victimized these people and stole from them – first their trust, and then their money. I am hopeful that Mr. Will will spend some time in state prison thinking about his manipulative actions toward this vulnerable group of victims.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alexander Zane and was investigated by Sgt. Eugene Andrews of the Hanson Police and the Middleboro Police Department, Pembroke Police Department and Wareham Police Department.