ND issues cease-and-desist order against Becker, Minn. construction swindler
An apparent Minnesota career criminal is up to his old tricks, only this time, his alleged victims are North Dakotans.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on Tuesday issued a cease-and-desist order against Patrick J. Delare of Becker, Minn., for violating North Dakota’s consumer fraud laws, according to a release.
In its 10-page order, the AG’s office alleged Delare received advanced deposits of more than $120,000 from two consumers to build pole barns but failed to do any substantial work on one project and failed to complete another. Consumer Division Director Parrell Grossman said one pole barn was scheduled to go up in the Watford City area while the other was located in Mandaree.
Grossman said Delare was also involved in a home construction project in Watford City which he failed to complete. Delare did not have a required transient merchant license and was not in possession of a state contractor’s license, according to the AG’s office.
“It is unacceptable for Patrick Delare to operate in this state without the required licenses, make money from North Dakota consumers, and then fail to provide the services as promised,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in a statement. “As a result, Delare and his business are now banned from all future construction or business in North Dakota.”
Delare served time on a theft charge several years ago at the Crow Wing County jail in Brainerd, Minn., according to a jail official.
While at the jail in 2004, Delare and another inmate hatched a plan to start a new construction business, eventually talking a county sheriff chaplain’s mother into writing four checks totaling $42,000 for construction work never completed, according to the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper.
Delare was eventually brought up on felony securities fraud and theft charges stemming from that and other incidents involving fraud and theft in Crow Wing County and has faced at least a dozen swindling charges in Minnesota.
In 2005 when she was the Hennepin County Attorney, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called Delare a “scam artist.”
A phone number listed for Delare in the cease-and-desist order was found to be disconnected Tuesday. Grossman said the AG office began looking into Delare’s activities in North Dakota after receiving a number of consumer complaints, though he said it was unlikely Delare would be criminally charged.
“It’s very difficult when someone is in another state, hundreds of miles away, to resolve something like this through litigation,” Grossman said. “One of the pole barns and the home were nearly completed, though the other pole barn was barely started, if at all, which would be a borderline criminal offense. We haven’t made a final determination yet. We could certainly initiate a civil action against (Delare) as well, but that doesn’t mean we will collect restitution.”
Grossman encouraged consumers to check whether a contractor is properly licensed with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office before hiring for a job. He also encouraged consumers to research projects and shop around for several bids before making a final decision.
“Once the money has been paid, these contractors have little or no incentive to complete the work,” Grossman said. “It is almost impossible to recover any money from an unlicensed, out of state contractor.”