Judge releases home improvement scammer
BRIDGEPORT - A former home improvement contractor, convicted of ripping off more than a dozen homeowners across the state, will be home by Thanksgiving.
Recently denied parole after serving seven years of a 12-year prison sentence, a judge Thursday ruled that Gary Girasulo has served enough time.
“By law you are not entitled to have your sentence reduced but I’m going to do it anyway,” Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin told Girasulo during a brief hearing. “In the overall interests of justice you have served enough time.”
The judge ordered Girasulo released from prison on Nov. 15, 2016. He will then serve 980 days of probation.
“Thank you, your honor,” Girasulo responded, shaking hands with his lawyer, Ira Grudberg. He told the judge that once he is released he will be living in Orange.
State’s Attorney John Smriga declined comment.
In January 2009, the now 54-year-old Girasulo was sentenced to 12 years in prison - the highest prison term imposed on a home improvement contractor - for fleecing homeowners, violating his probation for fleecing other homeowners and then fleeing the area on the day he was supposed to be originally sentenced.
Girasulo was accused of fraud totaling more than $201,000 from more than a dozen homeowners in Fairfield, Easton, Ansonia, Stratford, Redding, Derby, Ridgefield, Norwalk, New Haven and Guilford since April 1999.
In the case of an Easton woman, Girasulo took apart her kitchen, shut off the electricity and cut a huge hole in the side of the house for a bay window, but never returned to finish the job, police said. It cost the woman and her husband $40,000 to repair the damage.
Girasulo defrauded a Stamford couple, wrote bad checks to a Woodbury lumber company and defrauded a Ridgefield woman of more than $10,000 for a project that was not completed.
Girasulo - who had no home- improvement license, but advertised himself as a home remodeler - would agree to do a job, but told the client he would need a substantial down payment in order to buy materials for a job, according to police. Once Girasulo got the money, the client never saw him again, prosecutors said.
In November 2002, he had been placed on probation after pleading guilty to 10 counts of home-improvement fraud, seven counts of first-degree larceny and a number of other larceny charges. A condition of his probation was that Girasulo make restitution to all his victims. However, Girasulo instead used the restitution money to gamble in Atlantic City and the Mohegan Sun casino, according to court records.
In September 2008, Girasulo pleaded guilty to 16 counts of violating the terms of his earlier probation but then skipped town before sentencing was imposed and had to be tracked down in Manhattan by the U.S. Marshal Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force.
He also previously pleaded guilty to attempted assault on an officer for nearly running down a State Police detective who tried to arrest him on Oct. 26, 2001, outside a New Haven restaurant.