BRATTLEBORO — A judge issued an arrest warrant for a Windsor contractor accused of home improvement fraud after he did not show up for arraignment.
Robert M. Merrill Jr., 47, was scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division. Judge Michael Kainen granted the state’s request for an arrest warrant for not showing up in court and $200 bail.
“That seems appropriate,” Kainen said.
According to an affidavit, the Vermont State Police received a report about the incident from the victim in May. The victim said he signed a contract with Merrill Painting Company in April 2020 to paint his secondary house in Londonderry.
The victim told police he wrote two checks to Merrill for a total of $2,666 and both had been deposited by Merrill. Merrill used the nicknames “Bud” and “Buddy” when communicating with the victim and kept putting off the start dates, according to the affidavit.
“’Bud’ agreed on numerous occasions,” states the affidavit, listing May 15, 2020, July 20, 2020, Aug. 10, 2020, Aug. 17, 2020 and Aug. 21, 2021, “to return the deposit money back to him but never showed up and subsequently stopped responding to [the victim’s] emails and phone calls.”
When a trooper met with Merrill at his residence in Windsor in June, Merrill admitted to cashing the checks and never completed the painting job as agreed to in the written contract, according to the affidavit. Merrill told police his business experienced some difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he would like to pay the victim back once he receives a paycheck from another painting job. That had not happened as of the beginning of July and Merrill was cited for home improvement fraud.