DeWitt man sent to state prison for home improvement scam

By David Hammond

Syracuse, NY – A DeWitt man was sentenced today to two to four years in state prison for ripping off local senior citizens in a door-to-door home-improvement and yardwork scam.

Vincent Brush confessed to being ashamed of himself as he stood before Onondaga County Judge Anthony Aloi. The judge said Brush should be ashamed for taking money from elderly people and then failing to do the work he was paid to do.

“I don’t believe, you Mr. Brush, have an ounce of integrity or any sense of responsibility,” Aloi told the defendant.

Brush, 30, of 2 Gregory Parkway, pleaded guilty last month to a felony count of first-degree scheme to defraud.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Dotzler said Brush approached at least 11 victims in Syracuse and DeWitt and persuaded seven of them to give him money for yard work or small home-improvement jobs that he never did.

This is Brush’s second scam conviction.

He has an earlier scheme-to-defraud conviction from 2007 for a similar scam, Dotzler said.

Defense lawyer Michael Allen told Aloi Brush has a severe cocaine addiction and is undergoing mental health treatment for depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Aloi noted Brush should be having trouble sleeping given his criminal conduct. The judge also said drug addiction is not and never will be a legitimate excuse for a defendant’s criminal conduct.

Aloi also said the probation department’s pre-sentence report indicated Brush reported he had been a self-employed landscaper for the past 10 years. The judge, however, questioned whether Brush even owns a rake or a shovel given his criminal history.

In addition to the prison sentence, Aloi ordered Brush to pay $5,149.35 in restitution.

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About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.