In what prosecutors are calling Operation Claw Hammer, four Hudson Valley contractors have been charged with defrauding customers.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Operation Claw Hammer was formed to prosecute felony violations of New York’s lien law. The four unrelated building contractors face a number of felony charges for not performing work on improvements and not returning money they received to perform the work.

James Roe, 49, of Middletown was charged with grand larceny and two counts of grand larceny. He’s alleged to been paid to work on homes in the Town of Mount Hope and the Town of Wallkill but never worked on the project. Roe faces two to four years in prison. He’s due in court on June 8.

Fortunato “Ken” Febus, 51 was charged with scheme to defraud, four counts grand larceny, repeated failure to file personal income tax returns, and failure to obey a tax department subpoena.

Febus allegedly took money from a church in Wawayanda, homeowners in Newburgh and Middletown, as well as homeowners and business in other counties, but failed to work on the project or deliver materials. Febus is still at large. Anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to call State Police.

Daniel McInerney, 46, of Blooming Grove is facing charges of scheme to defraud and two counts of criminal tax fraud. McInerney is alleged to have accepted payment in connection with multiple home improvement projects, and failed to complete the jobs or deliver materials that were to be purchased for the projects.

A search warrant of McInerney’s home allegedly yielded multiple loaded firearms, ammunition, cocaine, scales, and plastic baggies commonly used to package cocaine. He was additionally charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. He’s due in court on June 21.

Vance Biengardo, 55, of Marlboro was charged with grand larceny. He’s alleged to have received money to improve a home but failed to perform work or return money. Biengardo is due in court on June 8.

On June 23, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will hold a training seminar for police officers on the investigation and prosecution of Lien Law cases.

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