Despite having paid nearly every cent back to a family he bilked for $52,000, a Delaware County man is facing jail time for his Internet scams.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced charges of theft against 39-year old Vincent Cottrell of Drexel Hill Wednesday. Whelan said Cottrell scammed homeowners James and Patricia Blaney into thinking he owned the J.D. Kelly Corporation, a contracting company they found on the Internet that offered construction services.
According to the criminal complaint, in July of 2014, the Blaneys went searching on the Internet for a construction firm to build an addition onto their home in Drexel Hill and found a contractor named J.D. Kelly Corporation.
Whelan said Cottrell stole the identity of J.D. Kelly Corporation, took control of the contractor’s website, replaced the phone number and posed as the president and CEO.
After six months had gone by without any work done, Whelan said,
“They knew all the red flags had gone up and they knew they had an issue with the contractor, they finally terminated services.”
“Most of these cases don’t result in the contractor paying back the homeowner, but in this case, the contractor did make payments to the homeowner. Nevertheless, because of his egregious actions, and stealing the identity of J.D. Kelly and tricking [the Blaneys] into believing he was J.D. Kelly, without doing any work whatsoever, we decided to prosecute him.
“Once you rob the bank, whether you give the money back or not, the crime has already been committed.”
A records check shows Cottrell has a prior criminal past with felonies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also charged with identity theft and theft by deception. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2.