1/19/16- Drexel Hill man faces theft charges and identity theft
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Jan. 19, 2016
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4163
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced that a Drexel Hill contractor is facing theft charges for taking money for work on a home construction project he never started.
Vincent Cottrell, 39, of the 1200 block of Foss Ave., is charged with home improvement fraud, theft by unlawful taking or disposition, receiving stolen property and theft by deception, all felonies of the third degree. He is also charged with identity theft and theft by deception, both felonies of the third degree. The arrest comes at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by Det. Timothy Deery of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Economic Crime Unit.
It was determined that the theft began after James and Patricia Blaney located a contractor online by the name of J.D. Kelly Corporation. They reached out to the contractor for an estimate to build an addition on the rear of their property so Patricia Blaney’s father could move in with them. On July 2, 2014, the Blaney’s sent an email to who they believed was J.D. Kelly Corporation requesting a quote for the project. Within several days, they were contacted about their request by Vince Cottrell who told them he also resided in Drexel Hill and he would stop by their home to look at the project. That same day, he went to the Blaney’s home, representing himself as the Vice President of Sales and Business Development of J. D. Kelly Corporation. Cottrell presented the Blaney’s with a business card which included his cell phone number and two email addresses that both included “JD Kelly Corp” in the address. It was later determined through the course of the investigation that Vincent Cottrell was never a partner, officer or held any position with J.D. Kelly Corporation.
On Nov. 6, 2014, the Blaney’s entered a contract with J.D. Kelly Corporation/Vincent Cottrell for the construction of a two-story addition to their Drexel Hill home with the total cost of the project totaling $87,150. Cottrell instructed the Blaney’s to make their checks payable to the Trend Group, LLC. According to social media, Cottrell lists himself as the Managing Partner/CEO of the Trend Consulting Group which was established in June 2012.
Over the next six months, the Blaney’s wrote a series of checks to the Trend Group for payment towards the project. From Nov. 2014 through March 2015, the Blaney’s issued six checks totaling $52,706.32. During that time period, Cottrell came up with several excuses as to why the job had not yet been started, including that he needed to wait until the ground thawed, that there were issues in his exchanges with Upper Darby Township and that he was waiting on permits to be approved.
After contacting Upper Darby Township and learning that Cottrell never filed an application for a permit, they confronted Cottrell who could not produce documentation.
On April 29, 2015, James Blaney contacted Cottrell and terminated their business relationship.
Further investigation revealed that John Kelly, the owner of J.D. Kelly Corp., first met Vincent Cottrell when he contacted “Speakeasy Communications” to assist him with the development of his website. Kelly paid Cottrell $1,950. Once the website was completed, Kelly asked Cottrell for the password and access to the site. However, Cottrell made numerous excuses as to why he could not provide Kelly with access. During this time period, Cottrell installed his personal contact information on the website, which directed customer calls directly to him, including the Blaney’s.
In total, Vincent Cottrell is charged with stealing $52,706.32 from James and Patricia Blaney.
Cottrell surrendered at the Criminal Investigation Unit on Friday, January 15 and was released on unsecured $75,000 bail following arraignment. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2016.
If you suspect you may have been victimized by Cottrell, please contact the District Attorney’s Economic Crime Unit at 610-891-4700.