FIRST ALERT INVESTIGATES FOLLOW-UP: Four indicted by federal grand jury for Summit Contracting fraud
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted the owner of a roofing contractor and home remodeling business for wire fraud and money laundering.
Chad Schampers, 38, of De Pere is accused of misusing federal pandemic relief money. Specifically, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says he fraudulently filed for a $300,000 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the federal CARES Act. The PPP loans are required to be used to cover payroll, rent and utilities to keep a business afloat during the pandemic. Prosecutor say Schamper used the money to buy a private home and other personal expenses and put funds in his personal account.
Additionally, a grand jury indicted Schampers, Nate Smith, Gina Schampers and Jeffrey O’Brien with 9 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
The indictment accuses the four of “executing a scheme to defraud” by recruiting customers, financing home improvement loans, then receiving payment for uncompleted or partially completed projects.
Schamper’s company, Summit Contracting Inc., was part of a FIRST ALERT INVESTIGATES investigation since 2019. As we reported, the FBI began investigating wire fraud and banking violations by Summit Contracting in June, 2019. Data from the Small Business Administration indicated Summit Contracting received a PPP loan between $150,000 and $350,000. SBA data listed the company as being female-owned, but Summit’s attorney told us that seemed to be a clerical error and Chad Schampers was running the company.
Nine days before the SBA approved Summit’s loan request, the company had responded to a consumer complaint on the Better Business Bureau’s website saying the company is “closed” and “now out of business.”
According to the federal indictment obtained by FIRST ALERT INVESTIGATES, from 2018 to October 2019, the Schampers, Smith and O’Brien “knowingly conspired... to defraud homeowners, financial institutions and others by means of interstate wire communications, and by concealing material facts from federally insured financial institutions.”
The indictment alleges Summit Contracting sales representatives “working at the direction of the defendants” used deceptive and high-pressure sales tactics and made false statements to win over customers and convince them to finance the remodeling projects with Summit’s chosen financial institutions, then the defendants withdrew funds before any work was started or the necessary materials were ordered.
Among the claims sales representatives made was that Summit didn’t use subcontractors when a majority of the work was, in fact, done by subcontractors. Some customers, just hours after they heard the sales pitch, were pushed to sign paperwork saying the work was completed.
Last February, the home remodeling business agreed to a civil injunction in federal court to discontinue its financing practices after prosecutors accused it of “a fraudulent scheme” misrepresenting the terms of financing, making false statements that work was complete, and withdrawing payment without the customer’s knowledge. The agreement closed the civil case but the FBI’s criminal investigation continued.
The wire fraud charge carries up to 20 years in prison. Money laundering could add another 10 years.
The conspiracy charges seek the forfeiture of the defendants’ property and money from the crimes in the amount of the ill-gotten gains. The FBI says the defendants wrongfully obtained, or tried to obtain, more than $1.5 million.
“This large scale home improvement fraud scheme took advantage and broke the trust of multiple homeowners and financial institutions,” Michael E. Hensle, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Milwaukee Division, wrote in a statement announcing the indictment. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the ongoing commitment and dedication of the FBI to work with our partners to aggressively hold individuals accountable who perpetrate fraud against the American people and assist the victims of fraud.... The FBI will continue to pursue and bring to justice those individuals who take advantage of others for profit and believe they are above the law.”
Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.