Contractor gets 1 to 3 years for accepting money but not following through with work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2017 at 9:48 am

ALBION – A Dansville man was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for scheme to defraud in the first degree, after he accepted more than $30,000 from three customers in Orleans County for new pole barns, but didn’t do the work.

Michael W. Oldfeld, 48, also was ordered to pay restitution, plus 5 percent interest for three Orleans County residents. The restitution includes $13,618 for one resident, $9,600 for a second victim, and $9,500 for another.

Oldfeld also has 13 victims in six other counties. Those cases are separate from the three in Orleans.

“This conduct was extensive throughout western and central New York,” District Attorney Joe Cardone said during sentencing on Monday afternoon. “There are many victims and thousands of dollars.”

Oldfeld is represented by attorney Nathan Pace, who said Oldfeld has taken responsibility for the crime and is determined to pay back the victims.

“Since day one, Mr. Oldfeld has stated his desire to make people completely whole,” Pace said.

Oldfeld will likely have his future pay garnished as part of a restitution plan for the victims, Pace said.

“You have a man truly trying, hoping to work on the debts,” Pace said.

Pace said the state Attorney General’s Office is working on a restitution number for the 16 victims. Pace asked that County Court Judge James Punch hold off on the sentencing until the Attorney General has a total restitution figure.

Punch said he is focused on the three victims in Orleans County and wasn’t going to wait on the Attorney General’s determination for total restitution for all 16 victims in seven counties.

“I have three victims in my county who were ripped off,” Punch told Oldfeld during sentencing. “You did enough here to go to prison.”

Pace said Oldfeld’s business was struggling, and he used payments from customers to try to keep up with his bills.

“He didn’t intend to steal,” Pace said. “He was robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Punch said the crimes, taking the sizable funds and not doing the work, has been difficult for the victims.

“It isn’t so easy to scrape together $10,000,” Punch told Oldfeld. “You have destroyed the plans for three families.”

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