WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A West St. Louis County man has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud over several months, and Tuesday ab associate joined him, pleading guilty to three counts of the same crime.
Paul Creager first pleaded guilty Dec. 21, 2018 to a two-count federal indictment for soliciting more than $724,000 from two separate investors without properly disclosing his debt to those investors.
Standing in front of a stalled construction project Laurie Rao doesn't mince words.
“Our money was stolen from us,” said Rao.
Rao and her husband hired Creager to build a home in Kirkwood. She said Creager's business, Everett Builders, required 10 percent down on a project that was never finished. The couple is now out $107,000, and they're not the only victims.
The small mom and pop business owners who helped Creager build homes by sacrificing labor and material are also suffering.
Pam Decamargos said, “$90,998 he [Creager] owes us. It's our money, our three kids, our babies money.”
The Decamargos family said they put roofs and siding on homes built by Creager without getting paid. That's when they started investigating Creager's lifestyle.
“Brand new Bentleys, corvettes, he has. We see pictures of him at his lake house in this boat he doesn't have a worry in the world about us. He took our money and spent it,” said Decamargos.
In 2016, Creager's Bentley, among other nice cars, had an assessed value of $99,410, according to the St. Louis County Assessor's office. He paid $9,033.79 on those vehicles in personal property taxes.
During the same year, a lumber company received a $90,000 judgment against him. There was another $17,000 from a trash company and it only gets worse.
Gary Henley said he installed furnaces and air conditioners in as many as 11 homes built by Creager without getting paid. He claims Creager owes him $81,000 but for a 76-year-old man living in a south St. Louis County nursing home, his daughter said the situation is incomprehensible.
Frank Steinberger spent his entire career working for McDonnell Douglas, then retired from Boeing. Now he is worried about his financial future after his retirement money wound up in Creager's control, approximately $400,000. Steinberger said he has never even met Creager. His daughter says her dad suffers from dementia and that his longtime financial advisor convinced him to sign documents that shifted his life savings to Creager's control.
A record shows a wire disbursement to Everett Builders for $235,000.
Amy Swaminthan said her father's advisor, a man named Bill Glaser, convinced Steinberger to invest in Creager's business.
Glaser was facing three counts of wire fraud himself, all of which he pleaded guilty to February 26.
He could face up to three years in prison and will be sentenced in June.
Creager was sentenced to 60 months in prison on the charge he pleaded guilty to in December.
He later pleaded to two additional counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.
According to federal investigators, those massive investments appear to have been "wiped out in less than one year." When News 4 caught up with Creager outside federal court, his attorney spoke on his behalf.
“We can’t comment, he's (Creager) under indictment and again not avoiding your questions,” said Ken Leeds, Creager’s attorney.
UPDATE June 7, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.:
The Department of Justice sentenced Paul Creager to six and a half years in prison and William Glaser to three years.