A 50-year-old Middletown man faces up to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of Home Improvement Fraud and fourtheft counts.
The felony pleas came in connection with a series of home improvement fraud cases involving at least 16 victims and about $300,000 in losses in southern New Castle County and northern Kent County.
Mario W. Mareno, 50, was first arrested in May 2016 by the First State Fugitive Task Force on outstanding warrants for Home Improvement Fraud from the Delaware State Police, the New Castle County Police, and the Middletown Police Department.
Following arrest and release on bail, Mareno left the state, but law enforcement located him in Forsyth, NC. He was extradited back to Delaware.
An investigation determined that in 2015 and 2016 Mareno solicited and corresponded with victims via Facebook, text messages, and email. Mareno would convince victims to make large up-front payments, supposedly to obtain required permits and purchase materials and supplies, and then never substantially completes the work.
In some cases, victims discovered that Mareno did not obtain permits or purchase materials as represented, and manufactured evidence purporting to show that delays and problems were the fault of other people, including the victims.
In addition to pleading guilty to Home Improvement Fraud and Theft, Mareno will be ordered to provide restitution to all victims, and will, upon his release from prison, be prohibited from working, advertising, or otherwise offering any type of construction services, including home improvement services, in the State of Delaware.
Sentencing will take place on December 12.