Friday, February 8, 2019

New York New Home Street Dealer Charged With Stealing $1,000,000

A local businesswoman is charged with stealing more than $1 million from upstate New York homebuyers through her manufactured and modular home business.

Sherrie A. Burton, 64, was arraigned Thursday in Moreau, NY Town Court on theft and fraud charges; if convicted on all nine counts, she faces 10 to 20 years in prison. Bail was set at $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond.

Sherrie A. Burton

The state Attorney General’s Office and state police investigated the case. The Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that Burton took deposits, down payments and full payments for houses through her businesses, Valued Manufactured Housing and Valued Homes located in South Glen Falls, NY and used the money for personal expenses.

Prosecutors allege that between at least March 2015 and July 2018, Burton falsely told customers that they needed to make a substantial deposit in order for construction to begin on their new homes — manufacturers have no such requirement.

In some cases, prosecutors say, she used this money for purchases at Zynga Games, and the Home Shopping Network; expenditures at Turning Stone Resort and Casino; payments for hotels, groceries, gas and alcohol; credit card payments; and cash withdrawals.

In other cases, they said, she used new deposits to pay manufacturers for houses she’d promised to prior customers months earlier.

Also, prosecutors allege, Burton would obtain financing to buy floor plan or display homes and sell them as new. This left victims without legal title to the home and left lenders believing the homes were still on display at her business.

Many customers who paid Burton never received a home, and never got a refund of their money, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The criminal investigation commenced after multiple victims filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Bureau. The probe continues; so far, it has uncovered more than 40 victims in and around upstate New York,

Burton was charged with three counts of second-degree and five counts of third-degree grand larceny as well as one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, all felonies.

Manufactured and modular homes are essentially the same thing: factory-built structures transported by truck and trailer to a plot of land and placed on a foundation. Manufactured homes are constructed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s federal building code, while modular homes are built to state building standards.

Attorney General Letitia James urged buyers of both types of houses to exercise the same caution they would with any other major purchase, checking references and looking for any history of complaints against the seller.


Anonymous said...

By a a mobile home dealer properly licensed by the Great State of New York?

Anonymous said...

Articles like this are what gives modular homes a bad rap. Manufactured and modular homes are essentially the same thing??

Anonymous said...

These kind of articles must be printed in order to force real modular home factories from selling HUD street dealers modular homes. At the least the dealer should be required have signs posted that say "Our lot may contain homes that don't look like a mobile home but they're made in the same factory' just like factories have to post nuts are processed in the same factory are other food. I too am sick of having street dealers confusing home buyers with imitation modular houses.

Anonymous said...

Makes NO difference, "Modular or Manufactured"! The entire factory built housing industry took a hit in the public eye on this one!

bob said...

This has less to do with a type of code for a new home (HUD or modular) than to a criminal business owner. A quick search shows over a dozen 'fraud' cases reported in the news in the last 24 hours, including banks, food stamps, insurance, and body armor. The only common feature is a business which found a way to behave illegally and impact those individuals caught in their wake when finally caught.

Anonymous said...

What does the difference between Mod & Hud have to do with this situation? Does anyone think a Mod builder isn't capable of doing this exact same thing just because they build Mods instead of Huds? That is laugh out loud dumb. Greed is greed and doesn't care what kind of frame is under the house you're selling.