An upstate construction company owner failed to put a roof over the head of clients. Now he will be stuck staring at the ceiling of a prison cell.
Shawn VanVeghten, 39, of Saratoga Springs was sentenced to 2 ⅓ to 7 years in prison on Wednesday for a $1 million scam to defraud homebuyers and lenders. He also signed judgments putting him on the hook for the $1 million and immediately paid $100,000 in partial restitution, according to the Times Union.
VanVeghten was accused of taking money from customers and either spending it on himself or on other construction jobs rather than build the homes he promised them. Attorney General Letitia James said VanVeghten laundered money through VanVeghten Construction and Union Modular Homes.
The construction company owner’s bank accounts were audited by state police, who uncovered transactions pointing to “a Ponzi-like scheme.” His actions resulted in construction delays and some projects going unfinished after he failed to pay suppliers and subcontractors.
Among the findings was that VanVeghten misused $200,000 of a special needs trust for a family member. He allegedly spent about $400,000 for personal use, buying and fixing up a Schenectady County property, buying office space in Wilton, New York, paying his own home mortgage and shopping for food and clothing.
VanVeghten was arrested in September 2020. Three months later he pleaded guilty to felony charges of money laundering and scheming to defraud, which could have brought him nine years in prison. He admitted to carrying out his fraudulent activities from 2016 to 2020.
“New Yorkers spend their lives saving for their dream home, so those who steal only to leave our state’s residents struggling to keep a roof over their heads will see the full force of our office come down on them,” James said in a statement.
[Times-Union] — Holden Walter-Warner