Sitting inside the Middlesex Superior Court, Stephen Kardec quietly tried to process the sight of William Psatelli standing in handcuffs, listening to the allegations of 23 criminal charges.
It was almost a year ago that Kardek last saw the paving business owner at Natick’s kitchen table. At the time, Pusatelli said he paid him $20,000 Kardec without completing the work, but he had promised to refund it.
Kardek, who has autism, says he hasn’t seen a penny yet.
“I thought he was a friend,” Kardek told NBC10 agents outside the courtroom. “But he was just taking advantage of us.”
Last year, we shared Kardek’s story as part of a “catch the contractor” investigation into Pusatelli and his pavement business.
In our report, we found customers throughout the Boston area who said their contractors had taken thousands of dollars in deposits and disappeared without doing any work.
In Kardec’s case, he said Psatelli paved the family’s driveway in 2015. After that project, he said, contractors continued to find other things in need of repair at the family’s modest ranch home.
Kardek felt his aging parents paid contractors a lot of money, but didn’t get much of a return on investment. But he now realizes it’s much worse than he imagined.
A recent examination of his parents’ bank records for the five years from 2015 until their death in 2020 revealed this staggering amount.
“I’m just devastated,” said Kardec, who shared the record with NBC10 investigators. “I can’t believe this guy took advantage of all of us for this long.”
Kardek said Natick’s house was likely worth only half of the sum paid to Mr. Pusatelli. When we visited the home last year, there were no signs of any significant remodeling or upgrades.
However, the list of checks tells a different story. About $30,000 is spent on gutters, his $37,000 on termites, and his $58,000 on attic repairs.
Bank records show that on January 31, 2020, Kaldek’s father wrote six different checks for $2,500 for the gutter guards. By this time, Mr. Kardek said his father had begun to show signs of mental decline.
However, much of the check is a mystery, as the notes are empty, including the January 2018 $35,000 amount.
In court Tuesday, assistant district attorney Mary O’Neill said prosecutors were aware of the new details and would review financial records.
Pusatelli has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $25,000 bail. During the hearing, his public defender asked the attorney general not to consider the alleged fraud involving Kardec’s parents as it was under investigation and not part of the prosecution.
Kardec is resigned to the fact that much of the money is likely long gone. I hope
“He needs to go to prison for a long time,” Kardek said. “Not just what he did to me, but what he did to many others.”