State Police: Daily Complaints About Contractor Accused of Fraud

By Lindsay Nielsen

September 10, 2012 Updated Nov 2, 2013 at 10:07 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Since September's flooding, there have been countless warnings about contractors going door-to-door offering home repairs, but only taking the homeowner's money.

Back in July New York State Police arrested and charged a man in the Town of Union they say was doing just that.

On Monday Action News met with the accused and one of his alleged victims.

Ever hear of Chris Bell's Home Repair and Seal coating?

Well according to New York State Police at Endwell, there are many who wish they never had.

Chris Bell, 39, was arrested in July for scheme to defraud in the first degree.

According to state police, he was going door to door soliciting home repairs and paving jobs throughout the Town of Union.

But after signing a contract and getting a down payment, they said he wouldn't return to do the work.

Action News called a number for Chris Bell's contracting business and he agreed to meet a reporter at a gas station in the Town of Union. But when Action News arrived, he aggressively reached into the news vehicle and grabbed a photo of his mug shot and started yelling.

His attorney, Paul Battisti, got him away from the vehicle and told Action News his client would not be speaking.

Earlier Monday, on the phone, Bell said he has "not scammed anyone", but Action News spoke to a man, who as well as state police, says differently.

"You think you go someone local, he had all this buildup--brother a state trooper, the whole nine yards. You think you've looked into a background enough and still we were victimized," said Kevin Aylesworth of Port Crane.

Days before Bell was arrested in July, Aylesworth said he agreed to renovate an addition on his home to create two bedrooms, but after giving him more than $2,000 to buy materials, Bell never returned.

Aylesworth was shocked when he saw Bell's work sign again in the Bainbridge area, a sign he asked Aylesworth to display in his yard.

"I called the investigator and said, 'You know I would like an update here. I see his signs out again.' And he's going, 'oh his signs (are) out from there to Oneonta to Schenectady; he's going up the line now,'" said Aylesworth.

State Police at Endwell tell Action News Bell has also been arrested in relation to his construction business in Tioga County for Grand Larceny.

"How many people are we going to let him roam around? The judicial system is dropping the ball. What judges here in Broome and Tioga let him be released to go on business as usual?" said Aylesworth.

State Police said Bell targets the elderly and is aggressive with them.

He even offers a 10 percent discount to seniors through a flyer.

State Police said Bell has charges pending in other areas of the state as well, including the Albany area, and that they continue to receive complaints about his business daily.

State Police at Endwell said Bell has yet to appear before a Broome County Grand Jury on the scheme to defraud charge.

Aylesworth said he has an attorney and plans to also file charges against Bell.