NASHUA - A young man charged with swindling two elderly homeowners with a paving scam is associated with at least one local paving firm, CVS Paving, court records show.
However, there are at least 20 paving companies in New Hampshire that carry the name Stanley or are owned by people of that name. So when Joseph Stanley was arrested in June, it’s no surprise that plenty of confusion resulted.
“It’s giving the whole paving business a black eye,” said George Stanley, owner of Stan’s Paving in Hudson.
Joseph Stanley contributed to the confusion by listing Stanley Paving as his employer when he was booked at the Nashua Police Station, court records show. That’s a lie, George Stanley said.
“I don’t know him, and he doesn’t work with me,” George Stanley said, adding later, “I have no affiliation with him whatsoever.”
Joseph C. Stanley didn’t list CVS Paving as an employer, but he is associated with it through his address and other details, court records show.
Those records show Joseph C. Stanley, 19, of 32 Yarmouth Drive, shares a home address and phone number with Cornelius V. Stanley, owner of CVS Paving. Joseph Stanley has the initials “CVS” tattooed on his back, according to Nashua District Court records.
He listed his father as “Neil Stanley,” but it’s not clear whether he and Cornelius V. Stanley are related, or if “Neil” is short for “Cornelius.”
Neither Joseph C. nor Cornelius V. Stanley are associated with Stan’s Paving, George Stanley asserted. George Stanley also owns the name Stanley Paving, which he said he registered to keep anyone else from using it.
But to add to the confusion, George Stanley has a brother named Cornelius C. Stanley, who is not Cornelius V. Stanley of CVS Paving.
And while Stan’s Paving was the source of several complaints in 1999, as customers accused the company of shoddy work and high-pressure, door-to-door sales tactics, Stan’s Paving, boasts an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau, and the company’s trucks can be seen on large, commercial paving jobs as well as driveways. In the last 10 years, there have been no lawsuits filed in local courts against the company.
CVS Paving, in contrast, rates poorly with the state’s Better Business Bureau, which states that the company failed to respond to complaints, and court records show the company has been sued at least once for defective work.
The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the state attorney general’s office lists complaints lodged last year against CVS Paving and Joseph Stanley Paving, both of 11 Denmark Drive in Northwood, but those cases were closed due to lack of response from the businesses, which apparently had closed, according to the bureau’s Web site.
Questions of identity
Police and business officials warn consumers of common paving scams, but criminal charges from such scams are more rare.
Joseph C. Stanley was arrested June 30, when he was still 18 years old, in Nashua on felony theft by deception charges. Police alleged that he bilked two elderly homeowners out of $6,900.
Milford police have also asked the attorney general’s office to investigate Joseph Stanley in connection with an alleged paving scam in that town.
Stanley is free on bail, facing a probable cause hearing Thursday in Nashua District Court. He declined to comment on the charges.
His lawyer, Charles Bookman, declined to comment on details of the case, saying only, “We’re going to have that sorted out through the court system. We expect to defend the case vigorously.”
Stanley gave his name as “Tony Bennett” and claimed to work for “Dunn Right Paving” in one of the alleged scams in Nashua and for “Driveways Co.,” in another case, Nashua police report. No such companies exist, at least not officially, according to the Secretary of State’s office, which keeps records of all businesses formed in the state.
Cornelius V. Stanley, owner of CVS Paving, could not be reached for comment. A man who answered the phone at CVS Paving said only he would pass along a message.
Scams are common
Paving scams are so common enough that the state’s Consumer Protection Bureau published a pamphlet warning about them. It is available on its Web site and on The Telegraph’s Web site.
Paving scams typically start with an offer to patch a driveway with some “leftover” asphalt, at a bargain rate. If a homeowner accepts, the crew then lays a thin coat of asphalt over the entire driveway and demands payment for the job at rates comparable to a legitimate, professional company.
The Consumer Protection Bureau’s advice boils down to getting a written contract for paving work, including the schedule, price and warranty, and to treat any unsolicited paving offers or estimates with extreme skepticism.
“This isn’t just New Hampshire. This happens nationwide,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Richard Head, head of the consumer bureau.
In Joseph Stanley’s case, he is accused of first targeting an 84-year-old man June 23, police said. Stanley told the man that his work crew had extra asphalt and they could repair potholes in the man’s driveway. The man agreed only to pothole repair for $100, police said.
But Stanley and his crew paved the entire driveway and demanded $4,500 to be paid immediately. The 84-year-old man felt intimidated by the number of people on his property and asked Stanley that a bill be sent instead, police said.
Stanley demanded payment and lowered the bill to $3,900, police said. He drove the man to a bank, where a cash payment was made, police said.
Stanley pulled a similar scam two days later, police said.
Again, Stanley told this victim, the 94-year-old woman, that his crew had extra asphalt after completing a nearby job, police said. Stanley said he would pave her driveway for $3,000, which he called a “great offer,” police said.
The woman refused, but Stanley and his crew paved the driveway nonetheless, police said. He then demanded $3,000, police said.
The woman told Stanley she didn’t have the money, but he drove her to a local bank, police said. Once there, the woman took a $3,000 cash advance on a credit card, police said.
She told police she gave Stanley the money because she felt intimidated. The woman was unable to contact a family member for guidance, police said.
Stanley had the woman sign a contract but didn’t provide her with a copy, she told police.
Stanley is facing addition charges for an unrelated incident. Shortly after the paving arrest, he was arrested in July and charged with being a Habitual Offender after police pulled over a motor home he was driving, police said.
The attorney general’s office is investigating the recent paving scams involving Joseph C. Stanley, Head said, and has asked anyone who has been victimized to contact the attorney general’s office.
Head couldn’t comment on the scope of the investigation, or whether officials have identified the source of the equipment used in Joseph C. Stanley’s alleged scam, but he said investigators are looking at “multiple” businesses and individuals.
The state has tried to warn homeowners about such scams in the past, Head said, but the problem persists.
“In essence, I think we’ve concluded that our public outreach efforts have had limited effectiveness, and perhaps a more aggressive approach is appropriate,” Head said.
Frauds involving contractors or other quasi-legitimate businesses can be hard to prove, Head acknowledged, because they typically involve at least a limited amount of actual work being performed. Doing shoddy work isn’t necessarily a crime.
“There’s no question that these are difficult cases,” Head said.
Getting a contract in writing is no guarantee that you won’t get ripped off either, court records indicate. A Pelham homeowner sued CVS Paving for defective work in 2007, charging the company refused to honor its own guarantee.
Lei Hur, of 17 Scenic View Drive, Pelham, had taken all appropriate steps to avoid getting ripped off: a signed contract, including a written guarantee, and payment ($8,000) on completion of the job, the suit states. Hur’s driveway began to crumble a month after the job was done, the suit states. CVS at first promised action, then later refused to repair it, and ignored both further complaints and notice of the lawsuit.
“All of the above conduct of the defendant is objectionable and rises to the level of rascality that would raise the eyebrows of someone inured to the rough and tumble of the world of commerce,” wrote Andrew Meyers, Hur’s lawyer.
CVS didn’t respond to the lawsuit, and Hur won a default judgment of $48,282,90, representing triple the average of three repair estimates, plus legal fees and interest. Court records make no mention of whether Hur was able to collect, and neither Hur nor Meyer could be reached for comment.
Nashua District Court has no record of any small-claims cases against either CVS Paving or any other paving company owned by anyone named Stanley, clerks there said.
Among the paving companies around New England owned by persons named Stanley, there is another one owned by another Joseph C. Stanley.
The two Joseph C. Stanleys are not the same person, and it’s not clear whether there is any relationship between them.
There is also a paving company in Fitchburg, Mass., owned by a Cornelius G. Stanley, of Ashburnham, Mass., which is accredited and rated favorably by the Better Business Bureau in that state.
Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 594-6410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanley-owned paving companies
There have been numerous paving companies in New Hampshire owned by persons named Stanley.
The following was compiled from records of the Secretary of State’s office, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, the Better Business Bureau and the local phone book. It includes some apparently defunct companies, and some Stanley-owned companies may have been missed, as there is no simple way to search for owners. The company name and address is followed by the name of its owner or registered agent. A few of the companies are listed or advertise in the phone book despite not being registered with the Secretary of State’s office, as state law requires.
n ACE PAVING LLC
189 Rockingham Road, Derry
Esau C. Stanley
n ALL ROADS PAVING (ALSO KNOWN AS KING PAVING)
18 Cross St., Salem
No record of owner, but Richard W. Stanley is listed as resident of that address.
n A PLUS PAVING LLC
5 Chestnut Drive, Salem
n CVS PAVING LLC
32 Yarmouth Drive, Nashua
Cornelius V. Stanley
n CENTRAL ASPHALT PAVING
156 Couture Road, Jefferson
Roxanne M. Stanley
n CORNERSTONE PAVING LLC
65 Perkins Road, Londonderry
Joseph C. Stanley Jr.
n COAST TO COAST PAVING LLC
1 Olde Bridge Lane, Epping
James E. Stanley
n DRIVEWAY DEPOT
304 Kennard Road, Manchester
n HILLTOP PAVING
454 Route 4, Barrington
n NEW HAMPSHIRE ROADS AND DRIVEWAYS
58 Branch Turnpike, Salem
n LARRY’S PAVING AND
SEALCOATING/ LCS PAVING
25 Beech Hill Ave.,
n PROFESSIONAL PAVING
20 Cross St., Salem
George and Sandra Stanley
n RICHARD PORTER ASPHALT PAVING INC.
9 Clark St., Tilton
n SEACOAST PAVING
23 Sims Ave., Portsmouth
n STAN’S PAVING
284 Derry Road, Hudson
George W. Stanley
n JOSEPH STANLEY PAVING
11 Denmark Drive,
n STANLEY BROTHERS PAVING
46 Maple St., Rochester
n THERESA J. STANLEY PAVING AND SEALCOATING
540 Route 16, Ossipee
n ROADS AND DRIVEWAY
58 Branch Turnpike, Salem
n WILLIAM STANLEY AND SON
520 Pembroke St.,
This article appears in the July 17 2009 issue of New Hampshire Business Review