Police charge man in case of contractor fraud

Eddie Kennedy

NAUGATUCK — Police arrested a Waterbury man Wednesday who passed himself off as a licensed contractor and took almost $9,000 to build an extension on a borough house that was never done, according to court documents.

Eddie Kennedy, 39, of 105 Harland Ave., repeatedly took hundreds or thousands of dollars from an Ansonia man who hired him, while making excuses about his inability to do the work, according to a sworn statement.

Federal court documents also show that Kennedy, who has a lengthy criminal record, was convicted of mail fraud in 2000 and was ordered to pay more than $130,000 in restitution to multiple companies.

Khalid Qureshi, who is in his late 60s, hired Kennedy in April to build a “three-seasons room” attached to the back of the house at 171 Cross St., where Qureshi’s son lives, according to court documents.

Kennedy gave Qureshi a business card for his Derby-based Affordable Home Improvement company during a chance encounter at a grocery store. The two signed a $10,000 contract, with Qureshi initially paying $3,000 in cash after Kennedy refused to take checks or credit cards.

More than a week later, Kennedy came back and “stated that he needed more money because things were expensive and the plans were changed,” according to court documents. Qureshi told police he paid another $2,600 in cash.

Kennedy returned in early June and added an extension to the deck without installing ground supports. The structure appeared at risk of collapsing, according to police and building inspectors.

“A person caught in said collapse would be at risk for serious injury or death,” wrote Det. Ronald Pugliese Jr.

After Kennedy told Qureshi that Town Hall required him to change the plans, Qureshi paid another $500.

Police claim Kennedy forged the name of Qureshi’s son on a permit application for a deck extension filed with the town in June. The application was never approved because the plans were not properly submitted and there was no license or insurance information for the contractor, who was identified only as “Ed.”

Kennedy repeatedly insisted on more money for the work, so Qureshi paid $2,800 over two separate occasions, according to the warrant. Kennedy had left garbage in the yard and asked Qureshi for money to buy a large steel disposal bin, for which Qureshi paid $100.

“During the course of the next several weeks, Edward Kennedy was bringing garbage from somewhere else and dumping it into my container in the driveway,” Qureshi told police.

Kennedy’s home improvement contractor’s license expired in November 2010, according to the state Department of Consumer Protection.

In addition to a state criminal record that includes convictions for larcenies and violating probation, Kennedy was sentenced to more than a year in federal prison in connection with a federal mail fraud conviction.

The details of that fraud are unclear, but he was ordered to make restitution to eight companies as part of his release from prison, including paying $6,000 to Southern New England Telephone Co., $26,000 to Sprint PCS and $12,000 to a limousine company.

It’s unclear if Kennedy made those payments.

Kennedy was charged with operating without a valid home improvement contractor’s registration, second-degree larceny, second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree forgery. He was arraigned Thursday in Waterbury Superior Court, where he was held on a $7,500 cash-only bond.