State police: Contractor misused more than $90,000

Rhode Island State Police headquarters in North Scituate.

A Coventry man faces charges after state police said Thursday he misused more than $90,000 for contractor jobs.

Scott Ferguson was arraigned and charged with three counts of unlawful appropriation over $1,000 and one count of fraudulent checks over $1,500. He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance.

State police said three people hired Ferguson to complete various projects. All three people told police that prior to the start of the projects, they made a substantial payment to Ferguson to be used to purchase materials for the jobs. After making the payments, Ferguson did not return to complete the projects.

State police said Ferguson used the money for ATM cash withdrawals, purchases at business unrelated to construction and payments on several personal debts.

Jim Wilkinson said he lost more than $70,000 after giving it to Ferguson who was supposed to build him a new roof on his business in Coventry.

He told NBC 10 that he doesn't think he'll ever see that money again.

"I'm not holding my breath," Wilkinson said.

According to an affidavit, Ferguson took off with checks totaling $70,000 and never completed the work. Roof trusses were delivered to the property but Ferguson never paid for them despite having the cash from Wilkinson. It resulted in a lien being held on the property.

Another alleged victim lived on Trim Town Road in Scituate. In that case, more than $20,000 of work was never completed.

The third alleged victim was in Cranston. Ferguson was hired to install a wood deck. State police said he was given more than $6,000 for an $8,400 project.

State police said if you're about to start a job and you have to provide some amount of upfront money, keep the amount low, get insurance and get references.

Wilkinson said he knew Ferguson and said he had a good experience with him, until the roof job.

"I guess my main thought is to warn other people before they give contractors large deposits," he said.

State police said Ferguson faces up to $50,000 in fines or 20 years in prison.