Construction Law | Residential | Commercial | Home Improvement | Contractor Sub Payment Act | Mechanic’s Liens

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§ 517.8. Home improvement fraud

(a) Offense defined.–A person commits the offense of home  improvement fraud if, with intent to defraud or injure anyone or  with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be  perpetrated by anyone, the actor:

(1) makes a false or misleading statement to induce, encourage  or solicit a person to enter into any written or oral agreement for  home improvement services or provision of home improvement  materials or to justify an increase in the previously agreed upon  price;

(2) receives any advance payment for performing home  improvement services or providing home improvement materials  and fails to perform or provide such services or materials when  specified in the contract taking into account any force majeure or  unforeseen labor strike that would extend the time frame or  unless extended by agreement with the owner and fails to return  the payment received for such services or materials which were  not provided by that date;

(3) while soliciting a person to enter into an agreement for home  improvement services or materials, misrepresents or conceals the  contractor’s or salesperson’s real name, the name of the  contractor’s business, the contractor’s business address or any  other identifying information;

(4) damages a person’s property with the intent to induce,  encourage or solicit that person to enter into a written or oral  agreement for performing home improvement services or providing  home improvement materials;

(5) misrepresents himself or another as an employee or agent of  the Federal, Commonwealth or municipal government, any other  governmental unit or any public utility with the intent to cause a  person to enter into any agreement for performing home  improvement services or providing home improvement materials;

(6) misrepresents an item as a special order material or to  misrepresent the cost of the special order material;

(7) alters a home improvement agreement, mortgage, promissory  note or other document incident to performing or selling a home  improvement without the consent of the consumer; or

(8) directly or indirectly publishes a false or deceptive  advertisement in violation of State law governing advertising about  home improvement.

(b) Prosecution.–Prosecutions under this section shall not bar  prosecution or conviction for any other crimes.
(c) Grading.–
(1) A violation of subsection (a)(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) or (8)  constitutes:
(i) a felony of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds  $2,000; or
(ii) a misdemeanor of the first degree if the amount involved is  $2,000 or less or if the amount involved cannot be satisfactorily  ascertained.
(2) A violation of subsection (a)(2) constitutes:
(i) a felony of the third degree if the amount of the payment  retained exceeds $2,000; or (ii) a misdemeanor of the first degree  if the amount of the payment retained is $2,000 or less or if the  amount of the payment cannot be satisfactorily ascertained.
(3) Amounts involved pursuant to one scheme or course of  conduct, whether involving one or more victims, may be  aggregated in determining the grade of the offense pursuant to  subsection (a).
(4) Where a person commits an offense under subsection (a) and  the victim is 60 years of age or older, the grading of the offense  shall be one grade higher than specified in paragraphs (1), (2) and  (3). This paragraph shall not be applicable to persons whose  sentence would be enhanced pursuant to paragraph (5).
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, where a  person commits a second or subsequent offense described in  subsection (a), the offense will constitute a felony of the second  degree regardless of the amount of money involved. For this  paragraph to be applicable, the second or subsequent offense  must have occurred after the first conviction. Paragraph (4) shall  not be applicable to persons whose sentences would be  enhanced pursuant to this paragraph.
(6) In addition to any other penalty imposed by this act, the court  may revoke or suspend the certificate. At the time of sentencing,  the court shall state the reasons for such revocation or  suspension. A person whose registration has been revoked or  suspended may petition the court of original jurisdiction for  reinstatement after a period of five years from the date of  revocation or suspension, or as specified in the court’s order. The  Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shall report to the  bureau any suspension or revocation of a certificate ordered by a  court.  draw and shall be required to comply with subparagraph  (i).

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