“Very quickly after receiving the check he indicated, ‘oh, I don’t think we can do it this soon. How ‘bout the spring,’” Ed Staples of Pomfret recalled.
Staples said he paid Roy more than $7,000 towards an in-ground/above-ground pool in August of 2020. Though the project never got off the ground, Staples said. Roy cashed the check and came back asking for more money.
“He was interested in talking to us about additional services, was looking to take a deposit for him to build a deck onto the pool,” said Staples.
Staples is one of dozens of customers claiming they were left high and dry, giving money to Roy for projects that were never completed and in many cases, never started.
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Among the liabilities listed in his bankruptcy filing are a $53,000 Chevy Silverado purchased in 2020 and $21,000 in back taxes.
Court documents also reveal that Roy owes more than $470,000 to nonpriority creditors, including 34 customers and four vendors of pool supplies.
“Those who put deposits on pools and never had construction completed are unfortunately on standby waiting to see what they will receive in this instance, which in all likelihood appears to be very little,” explained attorney Brian Marks, a professor at the University of New Haven who is not associated with the case.
An amended list of creditors includes half a dozen more customers who are also potentially owed money, including Meghan Millette of Canterbury who told NBC Connecticut back in October that she’d given Roy a $12,000 deposit for a pool.
“It’s ongoing. I mean, it started in October. So, October, November, December and now we’re here in January and this bankruptcy case isn’t going to be quick by any means I’m sure,” said Millette.
Staples said it’s been about a year since he’s heard from Roy.
NBC Connecticut reached out to Roy and his attorney, Gregory Arcaro, several times but our calls and emails have gone unanswered.
“The last time I was able to get anybody at their office, the answer was there’s no refund coming,” said Staples.
That was three months ago, according to Staples.
“The whole things makes me kind of sad. Just because I’ve never been in the position where I felt like somebody stole a bunch of money from us, he said. I’ve wrestled with the idea but it’s the only way I can really look at it.”
Connecticut State Police confirmed they are still investigating several larceny complaints against Brian Roy, though no charges have been filed. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) said they're still investigating several complaints as well.
Marks explained that filing for bankruptcy will put a stay on the claims against Roy, but will not shield him from any potential criminal charges.
“You hope someone acted in good faith to the extent they may not have, if they’ve committed fraud or engaged in criminal activity we go from the civil arena to the criminal arena. Unfortunately, it is the consumer who is put in a very difficult situation who may never ever receive those funds back,” he said.
According to the bankruptcy filing, Roy owes $545,000 to more than 40 creditors, mostly customers and pool supply companies, but has only $270,000 in assets to cover his bills.
“It’s a considerable sum of money. So, to file for bankruptcy makes me now concerned that I’ll ever see any of it,” said Staples.
We spoke to Millette on Friday as she was on her way to file the paperwork for the money she says she’s owed.
“I have a little bit of hope that we’ll see some of it back at some point,” she said.
Though they may never be made financially whole, both Millette and Staples said they’ve applied to Guaranty Fund through the DCP which repays consumers who’ve been financially damaged as a result these types of transactions.
Roy’s former business partner, Joe Julian, is named as a co-debtor in the bankruptcy filing. Julian said he sold his part of the business back in 2020.
“I am being named as a debtor for one vendor due to error, and I am working on rectifying the issue,” he said in a statement released to NBC Connecticut.
“I hope all customers receive their full refunds, and the responsible party is held accountable," he continued.