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Valley News Dispatch

Addiction drove tree service owner to defraud homeowners in North Hills, attorney says

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Authorities are looking for more victims of a West Deer tree service owner who allegedly took payments for tree trimming and removal work across the North Hills that he never did.

Jeramiah Cubarney, 28, of Middle Road was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on several cases and numerous charges Wednesday, but it was postponed until Jan. 24, District Judge Tom Swan's office said.

Cubarney's bonds were reduced to non-monetary with two conditions: that he has no contact with the victims; and that he immediately enters an out-of-state in-patient rehabilitation center.

Cubarney's attorney, Nicole Nino, said Cubarney would be getting treatment for opioid addiction.

“He is looking forward to getting treatment to help with the addiction that is the basis of these charges,” she said. “As soon as he has completed treatment, he looks forward to making the legitimate victims whole.”

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office was in agreement with what happened in court Wednesday, spokesman Mike Manko said.

In court records, the district attorney's office said it had received multiple complaints of home improvement fraud against Cubarney.

Each of the victims alleged they had hired Cubarney to complete various work on their properties, such as tree cutting, trimming, stump removal and cleanup. He would require a down payment, in cash, before starting the work.

“In each of the complaints Cubarney did little or no work,” the criminal complaint states. “The work was never completed and the victims did not receive a reimbursement.”

The victims live in various locations across the North Hills, including West Deer, Richland and Pine townships, according to the complaint.

Incidents happened between late January and early July.

Some of the victims were between 65 and 85 years old.

They paid Cubarney between $400 and $2,400 for work he allegedly either never did or only partially completed.

Hampton police also had five cases against Cubarney, all filed Friday, for home improvement fraud and theft offenses between April and June.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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