Press-Republican

January 3, 2009

Police: Contractor scammed several area residents

By ANDREA VanVALKENBURG

ROUSES POINT — Police will soon lodge several additional charges against a former Rouses Point contractor who allegedly scammed numerous residents across northern New York.

Ragip Purisic was picked up on a felony warrant New Year's Day as he tried to re-enter the country after recently relocating to Canada.

The 36-year-old was initially wanted on a single felony grand-larceny charge, but Chazy-based State Police investigators said Saturday that he will soon be charged with five additional felonies and one misdemeanor in connection with other alleged thefts in the area.

When Purisic is brought to court from Clinton County Jail Tuesday evening, he will be arraigned on five new grand-larceny charges and one misdemeanor count of petit larceny.

Police said their ongoing investigation has identified at least five alleged victims from northern Clinton County alone.

Authorities said that in those cases from Mooers, Chazy and Rouses Point, Purisic collected thousands of dollars worth of down payments from clients and then never began the work he was hired to do.

Purisic is also facing an undisclosed number of civil complaints throughout the tri-county area for allegedly starting pricey home-renovation projects and then never completing them.

Under the law, unfinished-project complaints are dealt with civilly. Criminal charges can be pursued for projects that were paid for but never started because they qualify as thefts.

In total, for the five local criminal cases, police believe the contractor took nearly $30,000 from unsuspecting clients.

Investigators said one of the alleged thefts occurred in 2007 and the rest happened earlier this year.

It was unclear Saturday whether Purisic is facing similar complaints in Canada, where he also worked as a contractor.

The state's Attorney General's Office has been contacted about the civil complaints against Purisic.

He remained behind bars Saturday, unable to post $20,000 bond.

E-mail Andrea VanValkenburg at: avanvalkenburg@pressrepublican.com