A roofing contractor from Niagara Falls, N.Y., has been sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty to defrauding customers.

According to a release from Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, between March 30, 2019 and Sept. 10, 2019, David J. Whitman, 33, collected a total of $21,472.23 in deposits from five customers to perform roof repairs. Whitman is the sole owner and operator of Whitman Metal and Roofing. Per the release, Whitman never performed any work on the homes of the victims, who are located in Cheektowaga, Depew, Derby and Williamsville.

Whitman pleaded guilty to one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class 'E' felony, on April 1, 2021. He has since paid full restitution of $21,472.23 to the victims. However, he failed to appear for sentencing in July 2022. A bench warrant was issued and Whitman was arrested in College Station, Texas, in late September. He waived extradition and was returned to Western New York the following week to be held without bail pending sentencing.

Whitman also paid $7,422.19 in full restitution to a sixth victim. According to the release, he once more failed to perform any roofing work after accepting a deposit from a customer in Buffalo. He pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a Class 'A' misdemeanor.

As part of the conditional discharge, Whitman, who now resides in Texas, must submit a DNA sample. If he fails to submit his DNA within the next 180 days, he will be re-sentenced to serve 1.3 to four years in prison.